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Tourists die as Thai speedboat flips near Koh Samui


A speedboat has hit a wave and flipped near Koh Samui island in Thailand, killing three female tourists. A male tourist is missing, presumed dead, and another three tourists, including an Australian, have been hospitalised.

The boat, carrying 32 tourists and four crew, capsized after striking a wave near a rocky stretch of coast in the Gulf of Thailand, local reports said.

ABC News reported yesterday that the bodies of a 28-year-old British woman and a 29-year-old German woman had been retrieved on the afternoon of the accident, with the body of a Hong Kong woman, in her 30s, discovered the next morning. A British man is still missing.

Britain’s Daily Mail named the dead British woman as Monica O’Connor, 28, from Manchester, saying she was on honeymoon after a “dream wedding” only three weeks earlier.

Nationalities on the speedboat were said to be Thai, British, German, Australian, Romanian and Chinese.

Police have charged the Thai captain of the Ang Thong Explorer speedboat with negligence leading to deaths and injuries, a crime carrying a penalty of up to 10 years jail.

“Weather was the cause of the accident because it created high waves, but the boat was also being driven at a high speed,” Surat Thani provincial police commander Apichart Boonsriro stated.

The boat was moving fast but was not overcrowded, reports said. Only one of the deceased was found wearing a life jacket.

Local police told the BBC the sea was choppy and the winds strong at the time of the accident, which occurred just 300 metres offshore.

Dozens of fast tour boats roar out of Koh Samui daily, running tourists to snorkel and kayak in the seas of the Ang Thong National park.

Written by Peter Needham