Two children have been killed and 20 more people were hospitalised in a collision involving two speedboats off the east coast of Phuket island in Thailand.
Maj Ekachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police has confirmed that the two kids killed were both Russian: a 12-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl.
One of the boats was carrying a reported 39 tourists, understood to be mostly Russian, while four Thai crewman between the two vessels were uninjured.
Of those injured, several are said to be in a critical condition. 15 people were given immediate medical attention before being discharged.
The incident occurred in the channel linking Phuket's two main marinas with the bay at around 8.15am local time on Monday.
The Payan 5 boat was operated by Seastar company and was traveling from Laem Nga in Rassada to pick tourists up at Royal Phuket Marina, according to Maj Ekachai and Marine Police Region 8 Chief Col Prasert Srikhunrat, reports The Phuket News.
As it manoeuvred into the access channel at the marina, it collided with the ALP boat, operated by LP company, which was full of tourists and had come from Phuket Boat Lagoon.
Casualties, understood to be mostly Russian passengers, were rushed to several different hospitals – four to Mission Hospital Phuket, 11 to Bangkok Hospital Phuket, six to Bangkok Hospital Siriroj and one Russian national was taken to Vachira Hospital Phuket.
“At this time, the investigation into the collision is still ongoing. Officers will inspect the scene of the accident before traveling to see the injured persons at the hospitals next,” Col Prasert said.
Vladimir Pronin, of the Russian embassy in Thailand, said: "Two speedboats have collided. There was only the Thai crew on board of one of them, while there were 39 Russian tourists on board of the second one.
"Over 20 Russians have sustained injuries of various degrees of severity," he added.
Mr Pronin went on to say as many as 21 Russians and three Thai nationals were taken to hospital, with several people believed to be in critical condition.
Five Russians are said to have already been discharged from hospital.
Photos from the scene show the damage done to one of the boats, as well as emergency personnel tending to the injured, including a child, while people gather around.
While another shows a child being held in a man's arms.
The Phuket News reports that video footage shows rescue workers performing CPR to "young Western children" in the boatyard of the Royal Phuket Marina, adjacent to the channel where the incident happened.
The tragedy happens a year and a day after a dozen Chinese tourists were injured in a similar incident in Phuket, and 18 months after 47 tourists died when a tourist boat sank off the southern coast, reports The Thaiger.
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