Tourist Boat Bursts Into Flames, 16 Injured

Fire engults a speedboat that exploded off Krabi province on Sunday

Seven remain in hospital in Phuket.

A local disaster mitigation official said officials might take about a week to retrieve the damaged boat and determine the cause of the explosion.

A speedboat carrying 27 Chinese tourists and several Thai crews exploded on southern Thailand's Andaman Sea near Phi-Phi Islands Sunday.

The speedboat, King Poseidon 959, picked up 26 Chinese tourists - including three children - from Phuket province on Sunday morning for a trip to the Phi Phi islands.

Passengers had to jump into the water to escape the blaze.

Sixteen people were injured, four of them seriously.

Thai police have questioned crewmen about the boat's engine condition before it left the shore, according to Bernama.

Out of the 16 injured, 14 were tourists from China and two were Thai crew members.

Xinhua reported on Sunday that China's tourism authority has initiated an emergency plan to help the Chinese injured in the explosion.

Mahima said each injured victim would be eligible for up to Bt500,000 (US$15,800) in compensation from insurance. All victims were taken to a local hospital to be treated.

In January past year, 18 tourists were rescued after their boat caught fire and sank near Koh Lipe, another popular island in southern Thailand.

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