June 8, 2016 – Two Chinese tourists were killed in Thailand today when a pair of speedboats smashed into each other, police said, the second fatal boating accident involving tourists in less than two weeks.
Tourism is a key source of revenue for Thailand, but accidents involving travellers are common in a country where safety regulations are often weakly enforced.
Investigators said three other Chinese nationals were in critical condition following the collision near Koh Phi Phi island, one of southern Thailand’s most popular beach destinations.
One boat was carrying 36 Chinese tourists including two children, while the other had 26 passengers of whom 22 were Chinese tourists.
“Two Chinese tourists died, one man and one woman, while 20 sustained injuries, three of whom are in critical condition,” said Lieutenant Prasert Srikhunrat, deputy commander of Phuket Marine Police.
Both boats were heading towards Koh Phi Phi, he said.
On May 26 four foreign tourists died when the speedboat in which they were travelling flipped over in rough seas off Koh Samui island. Police charged the captain of that boat with negligence.
On Sunday 28 people were injured when a speedboat carrying passengers back from an evening music concert on the island of Koh Samet smashed into a container ship.
Thailand’s reputation as the “Land of Smiles” has suffered in recent years amid frequent deadly bus and boat accidents, crimes against foreigners and political unrest.
But visitors keep coming. A record high of nearly 30 million travelled to the kingdom in 2015, a number boosted by a surge in mainland Chinese tourists.