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Siberian journalists witnesses Thailand ferry horror in which at least six perish

By The Siberian Times reporter
03 November 2013

Many Russians on board overcrowded boat which capsized with '200 rescued'.

'Witnesses said there were neither enough tubes nor life vests on the ferry. Some of those who cannot swim had to cling onto coolers or ice containers until rescuers came'. Pictured: Pattaya to Koh Larn ferries, wiki

'The ferry was on the way back from Koh Larn island to Pattaya. It was its last trip, it left the island 4 pm. It should have taken it 30 to 40 minutes to reach Pattaya, but after it was half way towards the shore it started sinking and went under water within minutes', said eyewitness Victoria Minayeva, from Novosibirsk Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. 'Apparently the captain did not raise alarm, so it was only the passengers who realised that they were sinking  who survived.'

Official accounts said that six died, including two Russians, a Chinese and three Thais with around 200 rescued but there was no confirmation these were the final figures. Tourists from Siberia are among Pattaya's leading visitors. Rescued passengers complained of a lack of life vests as the ferry - which was evidently overcrowded - went down.

'We heard an unofficial number of 15 casualties, and one  is reportedly a 16 year old teenager,' said another Siberian journalist who was in a boat following the doomed ferry. 'I wonder if it was not covered by insurance, since this was not an organised trip but the tourists' own decision to go to the island.'

Police colonel Suwan Cheawnavinthavat blamed the horror on an engine problem. As the boat went down, passengers scrambled to the second deck but this caused it to flip on its side and then sink. 'Witnesses said there were neither enough tubes nor life vests on the ferry. Some of those who cannot swim had to cling onto coolers or ice containers until rescuers came', said Suwan.

The dead were a  man and woman both from Russia and a Chinese man, he said. Three Thais - two women and a man - also were killed. A 12 year old Russian boy was in intensive care at a Pattaya hospital.

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