A Pattaya ferry, overcrowded with tourists, sank Sunday in the Gulf of Thailand, killing six, reports the AFP via Yahoo! News Monday. The double-decker ferry’s collapse raises questions regarding safety standards in place for the millions of tourists who visit the Southeast Asia country every year.
Among the dead were three Thais, one person from Hong Kong and two other foreigners. Conspicuously missing from the ship was her captain, who reportedly fled after being plucked from the waters once he was back ashore.
A local dive guide, who was first to the scene, recounted what she saw:
“The boat went down in minutes. I saw people – some with life jackets, some without – in the water. One man was holding on to a gas cylinder. There was a body face down in the water. They were all panicking, shouting for help,” the guide said. “We pulled 60 people from the water, including a Russian boy. We gave him CPR.”
Nineteen were injured on the boat that was carrying close to 200 people, well over the recommended passenger capacity of 125.
“The captain ran away. We will issue an arrest warrant for him,” said Pattaya police chief Colonel Suwarn Chiewnawintawat. “Divers will recover the boat today. We still don't know the cause.”