The accident occurred at Khao Hua Yai, west of James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay, at about 1:30pm, The Phuket News was told.
Among those rescued from the rough weather sea were four tourists from Belgium and 12 tourists from Norway, reported rescue workers from Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) in Phang Nga.
Phang Nga Vice Governor Eakkarat Leeseng and officers from the Tourist Assistance Center (TAC) later arrived at Phang Nga Hospital and confirmed that the 16 tourists and three Thais taken to the hospital for treatment had suffered only minor injuries.
The 19 were on board a boat named ‘Wararat’ on a tour organised by Khao Lak Asia Tour Company.
It was raining when the tour group left Khao Poh Pier,” reported an officer from the DDPM Phang Nga.
“Visibility was not good as the boat driver could not see clearly,” the officer said.
The Wararat crashed into another tour boat, named “999 Tour 41”, operated by the Thai Morning Sun Tour Co, driven by Suthin Sutthakit, 43, with 12 Chinese tourists on board.
The Wararat sank, while no tourists on board the “999 Tour 41” suffered any injuries.
Rescue workers from DDPM Phang Nga and and Phang Nga Hospital soon arrived to safely recover all 19 from the Wararat from the heavy sea and transport them to shore, where they were taken to Phang Nga Hospital.
“Every tourist was rescued. The Phang Nga Governor has ordered me to look after all the tourists injured and to contact their embassies,” V/Gov Eakkarat said.
“It was very lucky that they were all wearing life jackets. We always warn tourists to wear life jackets for safety,” V/Gov Eakkarat added.
“There are strong wind and waves (during the current weather). Tourists and tour operators must be aware when travelling on the water. Please keep an eye on the whether forecast,” he noted.
Takua Thung Police Deputy Chief Investigator Lt Col Somkhit Khaosang told The Phuket News that his officers had yet to discover enough details to determine who – if anyone – will be held legally responsible for the accident.
“We are questioning both boat drivers to find out what happened for our investigation,” he said.
Additional Reporting By Chutharat Plerin