Deadly Ferry Fire 'Unprecedented,' Says Krabi Governor

Ao Nang Princess 5 caught on fire en route to Phuket, 8 April 2015.

KRABI — The governor of Krabi province has vowed to increase safety procedures after a tourist ferry caught on fire yesterday, killing a 12-year-old Israeli girl.

The ferry, Ao Nang Princess 5, was carrying over 100 tourists from Railay beach in Krabi to Phuket island when a fire started in the engine room yesterday afternoon and quickly engulfed the ship. The passengers were rescued by nearby fishing boats, but one 12-year-old Israeli girl was reported missing. Her body was found by search teams today. 

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Ao Nang Princess 5 caught on fire en route to Phuket, 8 April 2015. 

Speaking to reporters today, the governor of Krabi, Songphol Sawasditham, said the incident "unprecedented." 

"From now on, ship engines will be inspected before they leave the pier, in order to boost confidence of passengers and tourists," he said.

The governor added that a special center has been established to coordinate assistance efforts for passengers who lost their belongings or ID documents in the fire. 

Narong Wunsiew, deputy governor of Krabi, said officials suspect the fire was caused by an electrical short in the ship's engine.

Phanupol Rattanakornpanya told Khaosod yesterday that he was in the back of the ship with his 4-year-old daughter when he heard screaming and saw people scrambling to the deck. The Thai tourist said he and his family jumped into the sea to escape the fire and spent 30 minutes in the water before a boat picked them up. 

"My daughter was frightened," Phanupol said, "But it was still lucky that the fire started when we were only 2 km from the shore. If it happened in the middle of the sea, and if it was night time, it would have been much more dangerous." 

Police say they have summoned the captain and his deputy for interrogation. No charges have been filed in connection with the fire so far.

The beaches and islands of Krabi, a southern province on the Andaman sea, are world-famous tourist destinations for Thai and foreign travelers. 

 

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