After the boat tragedy: burying the dead, talking safety (Updated Tues.)

After the boat tragedy: burying the dead, talking safety (Updated Tues.)

Family and mosque members plant the headstone and smooth the dirt over a grave of one of the victims from Sunday's tragedy. CHANAT KATANYU
Family and mosque members plant the headstone and smooth the dirt over a grave of one of the victims from Sunday's tragedy. CHANAT KATANYU

20 dead, 12 still missing. Authorities say they have stressed safety to boat drivers, but many boat drivers ignore these safety regulations and most passengers do not pay sufficient attention either.

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Tuesday morning update

If you follow the news, you know that tragedies like the boat sinking in Ayuthaya have a pattern. At first, there is a rush to find out what happened, where, why, and of course, how many were killed and injured.

When things calm down a bit, it is often found that safety regulations were not closely followed and often the regulations themselves are lacking. Then, of course, there is the sad task of burying the dead. That is where we are today.

The death toll as of this morning is 20, with about 50 injured and 12 still missing, many of whom are likely dead.

With today's update, you have a complete picture of what happened from start to finish. Save it. There will be similar stories in the future.

Lax boat safety rules take flak as death toll rises to 20

Post reporters

Marine Department authorities have stressed to boat drivers in the past the importance of strictly following safety precautions, and paying attention to maximum loads and speed, he said.

However, many boat drivers simply ignore these safety regulations, and most passengers do not pay sufficient attention to the practice of boat-travel safety, Mr Nat said.

The department does not have a enough of staff to be deployed to ensure boat transport safety in all areas, he said.

Department director-general Sorasak Saensombat said the department is considering issuing a new regulation to require passenger boats with 25 seats or more to instal the Automatic Identification System so that boat drivers' behaviour can be fully monitored.

Divers are still at the accident site, but there is also a big search downstream as the bodies of many of the victims have likely floated with the current. CHANAT KATANYU

This new regulation will apply to passenger boats operating on the Chao Phraya River and Gulf of Thailand routes, he said.

The compulsory insurance policy of the boat's owner had expired on March 10 and had not been renewed, said Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of the Office of Insurance Commission.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Interior Ministry to consider providing financial assistance to the families of the victims as permitted under the ministry's regulations, said government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Gen Prayut also told authorities to suspend the operations of the company that owns the boat until it can prove whether Sunday's incident was an accident or caused by negligence, said Maj Gen Sansern.

The prime minister expressed his condolences to the families who lost loved ones.

The National Council for Peace and Order, meanwhile, ordered all agencies concerned to step up measures to prevent boat transport accidents.

Boat driver Virat Chaisirikul, 67, denies he acted carelessly and caused the fatal ferry crash and sinking. SUNTHON PONGPAO

Evening update

20:25  Thai PBS reported on its evening news programme that the death toll is now 20. One interesting note about the helmsman is that he was operating on an expired license. Experts interviewed on the program agreed that currents in that area of the Chao Phraya are very strong at this time of year and trying to overtake a very long sand barge is risky. Video has emerged of the boat before the accident and it appeared to be travelling at high speed.

Here is an early evening update from our online reporters

Ferry driver charged, river crash toll rises to 17

Sunthon Pongpao

AYUTTHAYA – The confirmed death toll from the river ferry boat that crashed and sank on Sunday now stands at 17, the provincial governor said on Monday afternoon, after earlier reports had put it at 18.

Pol Col Napol Kladkhemphet, deputy commander of Ayutthaya police, also said the 67-year-old boat helmsman, Virat Chaisirikul, had been detained for questioning and then charged with recklessly driving the boat and causing deaths.

He  was  also charged with carrying more passengers than the boat was permitted to carry. It was licensed for 50 passengers, but there were around 150 on board. His boat driving licence had also expired.

He was being held pending further questioning and denied police bail at this point.

Mr Virat denied he had been careless. He was overtaking a sand barge on his right at a curve in the river and a wave hit his boat's tail, knocking it off course and causing it to hit the embankment at Wat Sanam Chai.

He also said he had been unable to prevent the passengers boarding the boat.

"The number of passengers was just overwhelming, I was unable to stop them," he said.

Pol Col Napol said the vessel's owner, Sunthorn Phansuethong, had contacted the police and he would be questioned later.

He would also be charged with carelessness causing death.

Twelve of the victims were women and girls, three men and two boys, aged four and eight years.

Ayutthaya governor Prayoon Rattanasenee said about 10 people were still missing. Of the 46 people treated for injuries, four of them were still in hospital.

A burial ceremony is planned for 15 of the deceased at the Muslim in Ayutthaya, where they were members of the mosque. It is about two kilometres from the place where the ferry hit a concrete pillar on the embankment and sank in the Chao Phraya River in front of Wat Sanam Chai.


JS 100 Traffic radio reports officials have just found the body of a 9-year-old boy, bringing the total number killed so far to 16.

Monday morning update

15 dead in Ayutthaya boat sinking

Sunthon Pongpao

Post Reporters

AYUTTHAYA – At least 15 people are dead and 10 are missing after a boat on a Muslim religious trip collided with a concrete flood barrier in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district on Sunday afternoon.

Deputy Ayutthaya governor Rewat Prasong said Chao Phraya River currents in front of Wat Sanam Chai, the scene of the accident, are usually strong. The tourist boat tried to avoid another boat on the river, causing it to veer away and hit an embankment at the temple.

Alarmed, more than 100 passengers suddenly stood up, causing the boat to list, take on water and sink, Mr Rewat said.

The search for survivors and bodies resumed at first light Monday.

Ayutthaya governor Prayoon Rattanasenee said that as of early Monday, the official death toll was 15. Another 46 people were injured, of whom 10 were in critical condition.

The search for 10 people still missing from the crash was under way.

Muslim families wait for word from rescue teams searching the sunken part of the ferry. CHANAT KATANYU

The known victims included six women, six men, and a boy, he said. Details of the other two victims were not known.

Mr Rewat said it was believed more than 150 passengers were on board when the collision occurred at 3.15pm.

Sombat Mongkolchai Tabtim, the two-level tourist boat, was 27 metres long and, according to Marine Department authorities, was registered in 1967 to carry a maximum passenger load of 50.

After more than 12 hours of search operations, 15 people were confirmed drowned.

Marine Department director-general Sorasak Saensombat said authorities believed some passengers were trapped, stuck in the lower level of the boat.

Divers were still at work last night. CHANAT KATANYU

A group of Thai Muslims from Talat Kwan community in Nonthaburi was on board the boat on the Chao Phraya River to attend an annual religious ceremony at a local mosque in Ayutthaya before the ferry hit the barrier during their journey back.

At 4.10pm, Kris Thianmitraphap, secretary to the Ayutthaya mayor, ordered rescue boats and fire boats to rescue passengers who were on board the stricken boat.

The Marine Department brought a large ship to bring the sunken tourist boat back to the surface.

The lower level of the boat was about two metres below the river surface; the upper level was partially protruding, Mr Rewat said.

Mr Sorasak also said the strong river currents were partially to blame for the incident. The steerman was unable to control the boat, causing it to hit the embankment.

He said safety equipment on the boat may not have been sufficient for the passengers.

The steerman, identified as Wirat Chaisirikul, 68, is still missing, he added.

Rescuers work frantically to help survivors of the submerged ferry. Sunthon Pongpao

Sunday night reports

19:25: The traffic radio website JS 100 says the death toll has reached 13 and the boat steerman has fled the scene.

19:00: Thai PBS just reported that the death toll is now eight with many injured. The boat apparently had a capacity of 50 and it is likely that the number of passengers exceeded that. Some reports say as many as 150 were on board..

At least seven dead in Ayutthaya boat accident

Soonthorn Pongpao  

AYUTTHAYA – At least seven people including a child are dead and almost a dozen are missing after a boat on a Muslim religious trip collided with the foundation pillar of a bridge in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district on Sunday.

The accident occurred at 4pm as a large two-deck boat carrying more than 100 passengers was travelling along the Chao Phraya River. It hit a bridge pillar near Wat Sanam Chai in tambon Ban Pom, causing the boat to capsize, Ayutthaya disaster responders said.

The casualties and the number of missing people may rise as rescue workers are still trying to identify the number on board and those rescued.

The boat was taking passengers from Nonthaburi to an annual Islamic religious rite in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district. The crash took place as they were returning to Nonthaburi. 

Video by Soonthorn Pongpao  

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  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา
  • apply to (verb): to use something or make something work in a particular situation - ทำให้เกี่ยวข้องกับ, ทำให้มีผลต่อ, นำไปใช้กับ
  • assistance: help; aid - ความช่วยเหลือ
  • authorities: people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • avoid: to stay away from a place; to try to prevent something from happening - หลีกเลี่ยง
  • bail: money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  - เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว
  • barge (noun): a long flat boat usually used on rivers and in ports - เรือท้องแบน, เรือบรรทุกลำเลียงขนส่ง
  • barrier: a wall, pile of sandbags, etc., that prevents water from entering - สิ่งกีดขวาง
  • behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
  • blame: to be responsible for something bad - เหตุขัดข้อง
  • burial: the act of putting a dead body into the ground, or the ceremony connected with this - การฝังศพ
  • bury: to put a dead person’s body into the ground during a funeral ceremony - ฝังศพ
  • calm down: to become or make somebody become quiet and more relaxed after strong emotion or excitement - ทำให้สงบ, ทำให้นิ่งเฉย
  • capacity: the total amount or number that can be handled or contained - ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
  • capsize: (of a boat or other object) to turn over in the water - คว่ำ, พลิกคว่ำ
  • casualties (noun): deaths and injuries - ผู้บาดเจ็บ เสียชีวิต
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
  • collide: (especially of moving objects) to hit something violently - ชน,กระแทก
  • collision: two or more objects hitting each other - การชนกัน
  • commander: a police offer of high rank - ผู้บังคับบัญชา
  • commission: an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน
  • compulsory: if something is compulsory, you must do it because of a rule or law - ที่จำเป็นต้องทำ
  • concerned: involved in something, or affected by something - เกี่ยวข้องกับ ที่สัมพันธ์กับ
  • condolences (noun): sympathy that you feel for somebody when a person in their family or that they know well has died; an expression of this sympathy - การแสดงความเสียใจต่อผู้อื่น
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • crash (noun): collision, accident - การชน
  • critical condition: very seriously ill or injured and might die - อาการหนัก
  • current: a strong movement of water in one direction - กระแสน้ำ
  • curve: a line or surface that bends gradually; a smooth bend - เส้นโค้ง, ทางโค้ง
  • deceased: dead - ซึ่งตายแล้ว
  • deck (noun): the top outside floor of a ship, boat or building - ดาดฟ้าเรือ
  • denied (verb): said that something is not true or did not happen - ปฏิเสธ
  • deploy: to put in place ready for use - นำมาใช้
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • details: small facts or pieces of information relating to a situation - รายละเอียด
  • detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
  • director-general: the head of a large organisation, especially a public organisation - อธิบดี
  • disaster: an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage - ภัยพิบัติ ความหายนะ
  • diver: a person who works underwater, usually with special equipment - นักดำน้ำ
  • downstream: in the direction that a river or stream is flowing - ตามกระแสน้ำ
  • drown: to sink under water and die - จมน้ำ
  • embankment: a slope made of earth, stone or cement that rises up from either side of a road, railway/railroad, river, etc. - มูลดิน,ตลิ่งทาง, เขื่อน
  • emerged: came out - ปรากฏให้เห็น
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
  • expire: to come to an end or stop being in use - หมดอายุ
  • ferry: a boat for taking passengers across an area of water, especially as a regular service - เรือรับส่งข้ามฟาก
  • financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน
  • flak: criticism - การวิจารณ์, การต่อต้าน
  • fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป
  • float: to rest or move slowly on the surface of a liquid and not sink; to be lighter than air, and to move slowly through it - ลอยบนผิวน้ำหรือในอากาศ
  • foundation: the part of a structure of a building that is below the ground and supports the rest of it - รากฐาน
  • governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
  • graveyard: an area of land, often near a temple or church, where people are buried - สุสาน, ป่าช้า
  • gulf: a very large area of sea surrounded on three sides by a coast - อ่าว
  • helmsman (noun): steersman; a person who steers a boat or ship - นายท้ายเรือ, คนถือท้ายเรือ,คนถือหางเสือเรือ,คนถือพวงมาลัย
  • identification (noun): the process of finding out what or who someone is - การหาเอกลักษณ์,การชี้ตัว
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • identify: to specify - ระบุ
  • ignore: to intentionally not listen or give attention to - ทำเพิกเฉย
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • instruct (verb): to tell somebody to do something, especially in a formal or official way - สั่ง
  • insurance: an arrangement in which you regularly pay an insurance company an amount of money so that they will give you money if something you own is damaged, lost, or stolen, or if you die or are ill or injured - การประกัน
  • Interior Ministry: the Thai ministry with responsibility over the Royal Thai Police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works - กระทรวงมหาดไทย
  • issue: to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง
  • lacking: not having much or enough of something - ขาด
  • level (noun): a floor of a building, a ship, etc.; a layer of ground - ชั้น, ระดับ
  • licensed: having an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - มีใบอนุญาต
  • load: the goods that a vehicle or boat carries - ของบรรทุก
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • Marine Department: the government department in charge of waterways, harbours and sea trade - กรมเจ้าท่า
  • maximum: the most possible - ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
  • mayor: the most important elected official in a town or city - นายกเทศมนตรี
  • missing: not present, but not known to have been harmed or killed - หายไป, สูญหาย
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • mosque: a building in which Muslims worship - มัสยิด, สุเหร่า
  • National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (noun): The military-installed group ruling Thailand following the 2014 coup d'état - คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ
  • negligence: when you do not give enough care or attention to someone or something - ความประมาท, ความไม่เอาใจใส่
  • off course: to travel off/away from the intended route - ออกนอกเส้นทาง
  • on board: on a ship, aircraft or vehicle - บนหรือใน (เรือ, รถ, เครื่องบินหรือพาหนะอื่น)
  • operate: to carry out an activity like running a business - ดำเนินการ
  • operation: a planned activity involving a lot of people, especially soldiers or police officers - การปฏิบัติการ
  • overtake: to go past a moving vehicle or person ahead of you because you are going faster than they are - ผ่านพาหนะอื่น,ไล่แซง, ตามทัน
  • overwhelming: to be so bad or so great that a person cannot deal with it; to cover somebody/something completely - ท่วมท้น,รุนแรงมาก
  • partially: in part, but not completely - บางส่วน
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • pattern: a series of actions or events that together show how things normally happen or are done - แบบฉบับ, แบบแผน
  • pay attention: to watch, listen to, or consider something or someone very carefully - เอาใจใส่, สนใจ
  • pending: waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed - ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง
  • permit (verb): to allow someone to do something - อนุญาต, อนุมัติ, ยินยอม
  • pillar: a strong column made of stone, metal or wood which supports part of a building or structure - เสาหลัก
  • policy: a written statement of a contract of insurance - กรมธรรม์ประกันภัย
  • practice: a way of doing something - การปฏิบัติ
  • precautions: things done to protect people or things against possible harm or trouble - การป้องกันไว้ก่อน
  • protrude (verb): to stick out from a place or a surface - ยื่น, โผล่ออกมา
  • recklessly: doing something dangerous and not worrying about the risks and the possible results - ความชะล่าใจ,ความเสี่ยง,ความไม่ยั้งคิด
  • register (verb): to record something on a list - บันทึก
  • regulations: official rules that control the way things are done - ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ
  • religious (adj.): relating to religion, or to the beliefs and practices of a particular religion - เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
  • renew: to add to the time something can be done or used - ต่ออายุ
  • rescue: to save a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ช่วยชีวิต
  • rescue worker: a person who save someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ผู้ช่วยชีวิต
  • resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - ดำเนินต่อไปใหม่, กลับมาอีกครั้ง
  • risky  (adj):  involving the possibility of danger, harm or failure - เสี่ยง, เสี่ยงอันตราย
  • rite: a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one - พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)
  • route: the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
  • rush: moving or doing something very quickly - การรีบเร่ง
  • scene: site; a place where something happens or happened - สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
  • search (noun): looking somewhere or through something carefully in order to find something - การค้นหา
  • secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่
  • similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
  • spokesman: a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • steerman (noun): a person who job is to control the direction a boat goes -
  • stress: to emphasise something; to say that something is important - เน้นย้ำ
  • stricken: affected by serious problems such as injury or illness - ได้รับผลกระทบจากปัญหาหนักหน่วง
  • strictly: demanding that rules, especially rules about behaviour, should be obeyed - อย่างเข้มงวด
  • stuck: unable to move, or fixed in a particular position or place - ติด
  • sufficient: enough - เพียงพอ
  • sunken: having fallen to the bottom river, lake, sea, etc. - จมอยู่ใต้น้ำ
  • surface: the outside or top layer of something - ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก
  • survivor: someone who still exists after an event that could have killed or destroyed them - ผู้รอดชีวิต
  • suspend: to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
  • task: something that you have to do - หน้าที่
  • toll: the number of deaths and injuries caused by a disaster, accident, disease, etc. - การสูญเสีย
  • tragedy: a very sad event that causes people to suffer or die - โศกนาฏกรรม
  • transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • trapped : to be unable to leave a place - ถูกกับดัก
  • under way (adj): happening now, currently happening - กำลังดำเนินต่อไป
  • veer (verb): to suddenly move in a different direction - เบน, แฉลบ เสียทิศทาง
  • vessel: a boat or ship - เรือ
  • victims : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
  • wave: a raised line of water that moves across the surface of the sea, ocean, etc - คลื่น

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