Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Thai boat crash terror described

Thai rescue workers attend to an injured tourist (AP)
Thai rescue workers attend to an injured tourist (AP)

The father of a British teenager seriously injured in a speedboat crash in Thailand has spoken of the terrifying moment when dozens of revellers were thrown overboard.

Ellie Hocken, 19, from Bristol, was among 39 passengers hospitalised after two boats carrying Thai and foreign tourists collided in the Gulf of Thailand on the way to a popular island beach party. At least two people are missing following the crash.

Ms Hocken's father, Dr David Hocken, said his daughter was thrown off deck and into the sea as the two speedboats collided.

"There was a huge smash and everyone was thrown overboard. Ellie blacked out and when she woke up, she was alone in the water."

The teenager, who suffered a fractured back, managed to swim to a nearby boat from where she was transported to hospital.

She is "still terrified even now", Dr Hocken said.

The incident happened late on Saturday night. Three of Ellie's British friends were also injured.

The speedboats were ferrying tourists to Pha-ngan island for a "full moon" party, a monthly event that attracts thousands of young, mostly Western tourists.

Provincial police officer Adipong Tapee said of the 42 revellers injured, 39 were hospitalised, including four Britons, four Australians and four Singaporeans.

Dr Hocken and his wife Poppy, also a doctor, were tonight travelling to Thailand to be with their injured daughter, a family friend said.

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