BANGKOK: A speedboat carrying 26 Chinese tourists – including three children - and five crew exploded in the waters off Krabi, a top holiday destination in southern Thailand, on Sunday (Jan 14).
Fourteen tourists and two crew members were injured, Reuters cited local police as saying. Five Chinese are in serious condition, Xinhua news agency said, citing the Consulate-General of China in Songkhla.
Krabi Prevention and Mitigation Disaster Department head, Paisarn Khunsri said the speedboat, King Poseidon 959, was making its way to Phi-Phi Island when the 12.30pm (local time) incident occurred.
"Initial reports stated that three of the victims sustained serious injuries, another three with moderate injuries while an undetermined number sustained minor injuries," he said on Sunday.
The injured were sent to several nearby hospitals including Phi-Phi Hospital, Krabi Hospital and Phuket Hospital to receive immediate treatment.
The local authorities, according to Paisarn, would carry out an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.
The Bangkok Post said there was a fuel leak on the boat and the driver had asked an attendant to take over the steering and went to check the boat's engines.
However, an explosion occurred just as he was opening the cover of one of the three engines, the Bangkok Post reported.
Everyone aboard then jumped off the boat and were rescued by nearby tourist boats, the Bangkok Post added.
The Nation cited Manassanan Mahima, a representative of Apple Tours, which chartered the boat, as saying that they will take care of the victims.
Mahima said each injured victim would be eligible for up to Bt500,000 (US$15,800) in compensation from insurance.
“In events of deaths, the compensation is Bt1 million,” The Nation quoted her as saying.
Xinhua reported on Sunday that China's tourism authority has initiated an emergency plan to help the Chinese injured in the explosion.
The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has urged local hospitals to spare no efforts to treat the injured and Thai police to find out the cause of the accident as soon as possible, Xinhua reported CNTA head Li Jinzao as saying.