Sunken boat that killed five scuba divers salvaged from seabed

The Chote Tara 2 boat which sank off Koh Ngam Yai island of Chumphon province with four scuba students and one instructor drowned on July 26 has been salvaged from the seabed.

The fatal boat was tugged to Nawarat private dockyard in Muang district for forensic examination yesterday (Aug 14).

Initial examination of the exterior and interior body and structure of the boat by forensic experts showed the boat is old, including its engine.

There are cracks on both left and right of the bow and left stern. The wood structure of the boat is in poor condition. There are several leaks on the bottom of the boat and hull but were sealed with fiber glass and painted white.

A police forensic expert Pol Col Tasanee Kwanprom said it needed other experts to further analyse the structure of the boat to find the cause of the accident and to conclude whether the boat met official standards.

These would be used by the police to pursue legal action against the boat operator, she said.

Meanwhile, Sahasak Kanjanapakorn, the father of a scuba student who died in the incident, said the police had filed additional charges against the boat owner and organiser of the scuba diving course as it was found that they knew that the boat was in poor condition and the engine had trouble prompting need to pump out water constantly.

However, relevant people did not inform authorities of these problems and continue to sail the boat to the sea, he said.

The five victims were among a group of 13 people, including scuba diving students and instructors, who hired a boat to go out into the sea for a diving and undersea photography lessons.

The boat was operating in Chumphon Gulf despite a foul weather advisory that small vessels should stay ashore.

The five dead comprise four women and one man. They are scuba diving students identified as Mr Mahasana Kanjanapskorn, Ms Tirachaya Methamongolthip, Ms Chandara Tapchan, Mrs Tapanee Worawatanakul, and Ms Suwanna Suthanurak.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)