World Bulletin / News Desk
Authorities believe the vessel on the Chao Phraya River was carrying more than 150 Thai-Muslims returning Sunday from a religious ceremony paying homage to Muslim teachers in Ayutthaya, the old capital city located 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Bangkok.
Ayutthaya Governor Prayoon Rattanasenee was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying Monday, “for now, the official death toll is 15, with another 46 people injured, of whom 10 are in critical condition.”
The crew member in charge of steering is among the missing.
The boat, which had a registered capacity of 50 passengers, sank during its return to its departure point in Nonthaburi, in Bangkok’s northwestern outskirts, while approaching an embankment at a Buddhist temple.
Ayutthaya’s deputy-governor Rewat Prasong said, “the currents in front of Sanam Chai temple are usually strong and the ferry tried to avoid a coming boat which caused it to hit the embankment.”
A local police officer who requested anonymity citing ongoing investigations had told Anadolu Agency on Sunday that when they arrived at the scene, “local villagers along the river banks had already brought most of the survivors to shore.”
Sorasak Saensombat, the marine department’s director-general, told the Post that safety equipment on the boat was not sufficient for the number of passengers.
According to local residents in Ayutthaya, a similar accident occurred around five years ago due to a ferry being overloaded with passengers.
Ayutthaya is Thailand’s former capital and a popular tourist attraction among foreigners and locals alike.
The Chao Phraya River which runs through the ancient city also flows south to Bangkok, making it a popular river journey with tourists.