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Briton missing after Thai boat capsize was celebrating first wedding anniversary

Published 27/05/2016

The British man missing following a fatal speedboat accident in Thailand was celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife .

Jason Parnell, 46, was visiting the country with his wife Puja when a huge wave capsized their boat off the coast of a paradise island.

Divers are still searching for the missing tourist, but Mrs Parnell escaped the crash unharmed.

In pictures shared on social media, the couple are seen enjoying beaches, meals and dances together in the days before the boat trip.

One post from earlier this week read: "Happy 1st anniversary to my wonderful wife."

At least three other people, including Briton Monica Cozma, 28, were killed when the boat went below the waves.

Rough waters and strong winds contributed to the Angthong Discovery Tour vessel being overturned with 32 tourists and four crew members on board near the popular destination of Koh Samui.

A German man and a woman from Hong Kong were also among the dead, Koh Samui authorities said.

Travel agent Amm Pontfuk, who has worked with Angthong Discovery for a number of years, said the boat had not left shore in the days preceding the accident due to rough conditions.

She told the Press Association: "This company is the number one for my travel agency, I have sent the manager customers for years, I have known him a long time.

"He is very concerned and professional, normally in bad weather he doesn't go out - he did not go out for three days already - and yesterday he thought the weather was OK and that was why he went out.

"The wind blew very, very strong and it made the boat go under the waves and flip."

When the vessel capsized, some passengers were thrown overboard while others became trapped beneath the boat, according to a port official.

At least one person had to be pulled from the hull after rescuers used a small axe to smash through it, and another woman was pictured lying on a stretcher on nearby rocks.

The boat's captain, Sanan Seekakiaw, said he had asked all tourists to wear a life vest but that some had taken them off during the journey.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British woman who has sadly died following a boat accident near Koh Samui, Thailand.

"We are also supporting the family of a British man who is missing following the same incident. We remain in contact with local authorities in Thailand for further information."

It is believed there were other British people on board the boat but they are understood to have been released from hospital following treatment for injuries.

Four people remained in hospital on Friday - one with a broken shoulder and another with a skull fracture. The other two suffered from a lack of oxygen and were being monitored for lung infections.

Koh Samui is among the most popular Thai island destinations for backpackers and luxury holidaymakers alike, and is known for its beautiful beaches, coconut plantations and waterfalls.

Following the crash, Mr Seekakiaw was taken into police custody and faces a possible charge of reckless endangerment causing death, which comes with a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

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