Ferry to Koh Tao catches fire, all passengers rescued
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Ferry to Koh Tao catches fire, all passengers rescued

Suffocation reported; panel set up to determine cause of fire

A night ferry
A night ferry "Ko Jaroen 2" to Koh Tao in Surat Thani catches fire on Thursday morning. All passengers and crew are safely rescued. (Photo: Disaster and Mitigation Special Unit Facebook)

A night ferry carrying almost 100 Thai and foreign passengers caught fire off Koh Tao in Surat Thani on Thursday morning. All passengers and crew were rescued, and no injuries were reported.

The fire broke out on Ko Jaroen 2 ferry, which operates on the Surat Thani-Koh Tao route, about two to three nautical miles off the island in Koh Phangan district, said Pol Col Chokchai Sutthimek, chief of Koh Tao police station. The incident was reported around 7am.

The sleeper boat, carrying 97 passengers, 11 crew members and goods, left Surat Thani about 11pm on Wednesday en route to Koh Tao. As the vessel approached Koh Tao pier, a fire broke out in the engine room.

After being alerted, boat operators and officials on the island immediately dispatched boats to the sea to rescue the people onboard. All were brought to shore. However, some passengers suffered slight injuries due to suffocation.

A fire occurs at a ferry operating between Surat Thani and Koh Tao in Surat Thani. (Photo supplied/Supapong Chaolan)

Marine Department chief Kritphet Chaichuai said officials were notified of the fire at 6.40am when the ferry was about 2 nautical miles off the shore near Chalok Ban Kao bay in tambon Koh Tao.

Boats from Koh Tao were dispatched to assist passengers and crew, all of whom were safely rescued. The fire was brought under control by 8.20am. 

Mr Kritphet said the fire-gutted boat reportedly carried 90 passengers and eight crew members, although police claimed there were 97 passengers and 11 crew members.

A fact-finding panel was set up to investigate the incident, said the department chief.

A fire erupts at Ko Jaroen 2 ferry off Koh Tao in Surat Thani on Thursday morning. (Video: Fire & Rescue Thailand Facebook)

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