SURAT THANI – A stray speedboat has killed a foreign diver off the coast of Koh Tao island, a popular diving destination for tourists in southern Thailand.
The foreigner was scuba-diving near Sai Daeng beach at around 2.30 pm when a speedboat passed by and hit her in the head and left leg, Pol.Cpt. Jakkrapong Kaewkhao, a police officer on Koh Tao island, told reporters yesterday.
The victim, who has been identified as a Norwegian national by police, was coming up to the surface when she was hit by the speedboat's rotor, Pol.Cpt. Jakkrapong said.
Pol.Cpt. Jakkrapong added that rescue workers on the island attempted to transport her to a hospital on nearby Koh Samui island, which was better equipped to treat critical injuries, but bad weather in the area prevented them from using the helicopter.
"We tried to coordinate with every possible agency to find help, but it was too late," Pol.Cpt. Jakkrapong said, "The female tourist later died of her wounds."
Khaosod English is withholding the identity of the deceased until it is confirmed that her family has been notified.
The driver of the speedboat was arrested, though police have not confirmed whether any charges have been filed. Pol.Cpt. Jakkrapong said police are still trying to determine why the speedboat was in the area where the victim was diving.
Police are expected to provide an update to the press later today.
Speedboats accidents are frequent in Thailand, largely due to the high speed of the vehicles, unpredictable weather in the seas, and inexperienced drivers. Life jackets are not always available on the boats.
A speedboat accident in Pattaya in August 2013 killed two Chinese tourists and injured eight others, including one whose leg had to be amputated. More recently, eight tourists were hurt when a speedboat crashed in Krabi province in February this year, while two Korean tourists drowned to death in Phuket province in October after their speedboat captain crashed the boat into another vessel.
The driver claimed he lost control of the boat because he was trying to pick up a plastic bag.
In September, a pair of British tourists were murdered on Koh Tao island. Two Burmese migrant workers were arrested and accused of killing the two tourists, David Miller and Hannah Witheridge. Their trial is set to start next month.
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