Monday, November 4, 2013

Thailand: Three Thais, Two Russians and One Chinese National Killed While Traveling on Overcrowded Ferry

The Royal Thai Police report that six tourists, including two Russians and a Chinese citizen, have been killed when an overcrowded ferry sank in eastern Thailand. 

Police Col. Suwan Cheawnavinthavat says roughly 200 Thai and foreign tourists were on a double-decker ferry that left Lan Island for the 30-minute trip to the resort town of Pattaya on Sunday (November 3).

Yet, shortly after the boat departed, an engine problem prompted passengers to rush to the upper deck of the ferry, causing the vessel to flip onto its side and eventually sink.

Police report that three Thais also drowned. The rest of the passengers were rescued, including a nine-year-old Russian boy who was in intensive care at a local hospital.

Col. Suwan also reported that the ferry was operating over its maximum occupancy capacity.

COMMENT: Although Thailand attracted 22 million tourists last year, it is struggling unsuccessfully to shake off a reputation for negligent safety standards after a series of fatal incidents.

As most of our regular readers know all too well, Thailand is hardly a low-risk destination. If you are not convinced, I would only ask that you search my nearly 2,600 posting in recent years by searching the posting by typing the word "Thailand."

Having lived in Thailand for a number of years as a senior Regional Security Officer (RSO) at the US Embassy in Bangkok, I continue to urge my friends and relatives to seek safer destinations abroad, other than Thailand, as the overall risks to tourists and travelers is becoming unmanageable.