Speedboat Driver Charged With Injuring 37 Tourists In Phuket

The driver of the speedboat that collided with a lighthouse in the middle of the sea in Chalong Bay, Phuket Province, injuring 37 tourists, mainly Russians, on May 17, 2023, was charged.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong stated that after questioning 19 witnesses, all of them provided the same information: the boat driver acted recklessly.

As a result, the driver was charged under Sections 300 and 390 for acting negligently and causing injury to others, which carries a maximum punishment of three years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht. The Phuket District Court has jurisdiction over this.

On May 22, Pol. Lt. Col. Khun Somrak, the investigating inspector of Chalong Police Station in Phuket Province, disclosed that the physical examination findings of Mr. Satit Matchai, the boat driver, 29, identified narcotics such as methamphetamine not alcohol. As a result, the police document it as evidence before sending the case file to the prosecutor for presentation in court.

The A Time Nature Tour’s speedboat drove from Phi Phi Island to Chalong Bay, around 100 metres from Chalong Pier. The boat skidded and collided with a lighthouse. The officers acted quickly to transport the injured tourists to hospitals.

According to Phuket Governor Narong Wunsiew, 37 tourists were hurt, including four Thais, 21 Russians, nine Kazakhstans, one Hong Kong, one Chinese, and one Ukrainian. There are still 16 individuals in hospitals, 11 of whom are at Vachira Phuket Hospital. There were three at Mission Hospital, one at Dibuk Hospital, and one at Bangkok Hospital.

During this time, Phuket immigration officers visited foreign visitors who were hospitalised to assist them in extending their visas. If further treatment is required, the hospital should directly notify the Phuket Immigration Office.

The speedboat involved in the collision had the Medical Treatment Protection Act, which is worth 15,000 baht per person, and the victims also bought accident insurance from a reputable insurance provider. For coverage of medical expenses in case of injury, an additional 500,000 baht will be paid per individual.