At least 15 people are reportedly dead and others remain missing after a Thailand riverboat ferry carrying some 150 Thai Muslim tourists sunk on the Chao Phraya River in Ayuthaya on Sunday, September 18, afternoon.
The Thailand riverboat ferry is reported by Khaosod English to have struck a riverboat barge in front of Wat Sanamchai, about 64km north of Bangkok, on Sunday afternoon, while The Nation and the Bangkok Post reported that it ‘hit a pole’, and hit a ‘foundation of pillar of a bridge’, respectively.
Video posted to YouTube by KhaosodTV show people clinging to the sides of the partially submerged and listing riverboat ferry, separated from a landing just meters away, by the rapidly flowing Chao Phraya River.
A city official, Krit Tienmittrapap, reportedly told Khaosod English that the riverboat ferry, which The Nation reports as carrying Thai Muslims home from a local mosque, was overloaded. Other sources say the Thailand riverboat ferry was only licensed to carry 50 people.
In the video frantic efforts are being made to resuscitate passengers pulled from the water, while other Thailand riverboat ferries stand-by, and jet-skis patrol the river looking for additional passengers.
Other Thailand riverboat ferries and vessels can be seen carrying passengers wearing similar yellow-coloured clothing as those from the sunken boat.
The Thailand riverboat ferry’s master, or ‘steersman’, 68-year-old Wirat Chaisirikul remains unaccounted for.
Update: This story was last updated at 07:00am on September 19, 2016: The original version of this story stated 20 people had been killed. The confirmed number of dead has been revised down to 13, with others still unaccounted for, while the estimated number of passengers aboard the stricken Thailand riverboat ferry was revised up from 100 to 150. The fate of the Thailand riverboat ferry master was also updated.
- Seven killed in Ayutthaya boat accident (Bangkok Post)
- 8 Dead, 20 Injured When Boat Goes Down in Chao Phraya (Khaosod English)
- Eight Muslims drown in boat accident (The Nation)