Two Chinese tourists died and eight injured when their speedboat crashed into an anchored longtail boat off Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya.
Dong Feiyue, 30, and Zhang Tao, 29, catapulted out of the twin-engine Chok Suwanna 17 and died of broken necks about 200 meters off the pier Aug. 28. Eight others were also pulled form the sea by marine rescuers. Gu Yuzhang, 32, was most-seriously hurt, suffering a broken leg and hand and other severe injuries.
All that remains of the twin-engine Chok Suwanna 17 lays testament to still another major speedboat accident in Pattaya, which this time claimed the lives of 2 Chinese tourists and injured 8 more. This, just one week after authorities met with local tour boat operators to remind them of their safety responsibilities.
Boat driver Kriangkrai Boonsri, 23, suffered a broken ankle and was treated at Pattaya Memorial Hospital.
Kriangkrai told police he was passing the empty longtail boat used for viewing fish and coral when his propeller snagged the glass-bottomed boat’s anchor line. His speedboat veered wildly and slammed into the anchored vessel.
The driver was arrested for reckless driving. Investigators are still trying to determine if he possessed the proper license.
Tour guide Kuang Chai, 43, said his group had been staying at the Araya Palace Hotel in Naklua and went to enjoy seafood and the beach in Koh Larn.
Pattaya Police Superintendent Col. Suwan Cheaonawinthawat told international media that the speedboat was traveling too fast, given the serious impact of the crash.
Two Chinese tourists were killed, 8 others injured and the twin-engine Chok Suwanna 17 was destroyed in a deadly August 28 crash at sea.
Suwan said authorities also were investigating whether the anchored boat was obstructing other vessels from traveling to shore.
Ironically, members of the Pattaya Tour Boat Operators Club were told just days earlier, in a meeting with a Pattaya city councilman, that parking rules at Bali Hai were being redrawn, with priority given to two-engine craft. (See related story on page 2.)
The accident has reignited international outrage over marine safety in Pattaya.
A Polish woman was killed by a speedboat propeller in January in Jomtien Beach and a Thai taxi driver swimming in Najomtien had his throat cut by a boat prop in May. In April, 20 South Korean tourists and guides were hurt - two critically - when two speedboats collided off Koh Larn, setting off a firestorm that spawned proposed regulations, establishment of new offices and meetings like the one called with the boat operators club Aug. 21
To date, none of the proposals have been completed. Instead, the meetings - and accidents - continue.