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Two tourists killed, two missing in speed boat accident at Koh Samui

Friday, May 27, 2016 - 11:49

[BANGKOK] Two foreign tourists were killed and two others are missing after a packed speed boat capsized off the popular Thai holiday island of Koh Samui, an official said Friday.

The boat, which was carrying 32 tourists plus four crew, flipped over Thursday afternoon after it was slammed by a wave near a rocky stretch of coast off Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.

A 28-year-old British woman and a 29-year-old German woman drowned, said Paiboon Omark, a district chief on the island.

Rescue workers and police are searching for two other missing tourists, a woman from Hong Kong and a man from the United Kingdom.

"The operation resumed at 8am (0100 GMT) with marine police and rescue workers searching near the accident site," he told AFP, adding that the boat was only a few metres from the pier when it capsized.

The Thai captain of the Ang Thong Explorer speedboat has been detained at a police station for questioning, he added.

Four tourists have been hospitalised for injuries sustained during the accident, including a British woman and Australian man who have been sent to a hospital in Bangkok, said staff at Samui hospital.

Two more tourists, a Romanian woman and a German man, are receiving medical treatment on the island, the hospital said.

The speed boat had been taking the tourists on a day trip to a string of nearby islands.

The United Kingdom's Foreign Office confirmed the death of a British woman and said it was assisting her family.

A spokeswoman said they were aware of another British national in hospital for injuries suffered in the same incident, but did not make reference to a third citizen.

"We remain in contact with local authorities in Thailand for further information," she said.

The German Embassy could not be reached for comment.

Tourism is a key source of revenue for Thailand, but accidents involving tourists are common in a country where safety regulations are often weakly enforced.

In January a speedboat struck and instantly killed a French tourist while she was snorkelling in waters reserved for swimmers off a Thai island in Krabi province.

AFP