Polish couple among victims of Thai ferry sinking
BANGKOK - Agence France-Presse
A double-decker boat is seen at a pier in Pattaya on November 4, 2013. AFP photoA Polish couple were among six passengers who died when a crowded tourist ferry sank in Thailand at the weekend, police said Tuesday.
The bodies of the 60-year-old man and his wife aged 45 were retrieved on Sunday along with a man from Hong Kong and three Thai passengers after the boat went down near the popular resort of Pattaya.
"Two of the foreigners were identified as Polish while the third was a Hong Kong citizen. No more dead have been reported," Pattaya police chief Colonel Suwarn Chiewnawintawat told AFP.
Tests for alcohol and drugs on the boat captain were "inconclusive", Suwarn said, despite local media reports that he had confessed to being intoxicated at the time of the accident.
The double-decker ferry sank on Sunday afternoon near Koh Larn, a small island popular with day-trippers from Pattaya, a beachside city renowned for its racy nightlife 150 kilometres (100 miles) southeast of Bangkok.
There had been confusion over the identities of the two Polish victims. Russia's foreign ministry initially reported one of its citizens was among the dead. A 12-year-old Russian boy remained in a critical condition late Monday after nearly drowning in the heavy currents.
Survivors recounted scrambling for life jackets as water poured on board, forcing them to the upper deck where the boat became unstable before sinking rapidly.
The cause of the accident was still unknown but the co-owner of the boat's operator on Monday said the ferry may have hit an object, ripping a hole in its hull.
He insisted the boat only had 130 people on board -- below its 150 capacity -- and blamed the captain for the incident, describing him as "careless".
The boat captain has been charged with causing death through negligence. The incident has revived fears over safety standards in the kingdom, which drew a record 22 million tourists last year.