Speedboat explodes off Thailand, 1 killed

Bangkok, Jan 14 (IANS) A Thai crew member was killed and several others injured as a speedboat carrying 27 Chinese tourists and some crew exploded off Thailand’s Andaman Sea near Phi-Phi Islands on Sunday, local media reported.

The speedboat was on its way to Phi-Phi Islands and caught fire near the Viking Cave in the sea at about 1 p.m. local time. Five Chinese were seriously injured, according to the Consulate-General of China in Songkhla, Xinhua news agency reported.

The consulate said all the Chinese tourists have been helped ashore while the rescue team is still searching for the others. All the injured were hospitalised.

Local media said there was a fuel leak. The captain went to check the engine and it suddenly exploded. The fire quickly spread, prompting all the passengers to scramble for swimming vests and jump into the sea.

Local media said there were five Thai passengers and 27 Chinese tourists, including three children, on board. A seriously injured Thai crew was later pronounced dead from burns.

China’s tourism authority said it has initiated an emergency plan to help Chinese nationals.

The China National Tourism Administration has urged local hospitals to spare no efforts to treat the injured and Thai police to find out the cause of the accident as soon as possible, according to CNTA head Li Jinzao.

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