Thailand speedboat crash victim was celebrating first anniversary

Handout photo taken with permission from the twitter feed of Nalinee Siriked of the scene near Koh Samui in Thailand after a British woman died after a speedboat reportedly hit a rock and capsized. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday May 26, 2016. Another British national was injured in the accident on Thursday afternoon, the Foreign Office said. There were 32 passengers and four crew on the boat which was travelling from Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park when it capsized, the Bangkok Post reported. See PA story ACCIDENT Thailand. Photo credit should read: HS8TLA/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Handout photo taken with permission from the twitter feed of Nalinee Siriked of the scene near Koh Samui in Thailand after a British woman died after a speedboat reportedly hit a rock and capsized. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday May 26, 2016. Another British national was injured in the accident on Thursday afternoon, the Foreign Office said. There were 32 passengers and four crew on the boat which was travelling from Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park when it capsized, the Bangkok Post reported. See PA story ACCIDENT Thailand. Photo credit should read: HS8TLA/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
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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.

The tragedy is the latest in a long list involving tourists in Thailand.

Last December, two Burmese migrant workers were sentenced to death for the 2014 murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and leeds student David Miller, 24, who were brutally beaten and killed while holidaying on the island of Koh Tao.

Also last December, a Leeds man fell to his death from a fourth-floor window in a street in Pattaya, a city on the east coast which is popular with partygoers. Naami Keyghobadi, 28, had arrived in Thailand for a holiday on December 4 and was due to return home on December 30.

Last month, a British family vowed never to return to Thailand after being punched and kicked unconscious in an unprovoked attack by a gang in the tourist resort of Hua Hi. Lewis and Rosemary Owen, 68 and 65, and their son were knocked out cold during the Thai New Year celebrations - with the vicious attack captured on CCTV. The holidaymakers needed hospital treatment after the assault.

And in February, British holidaymaker Gareth Crowe was killed after being thrown from his elephant during a trek on Koh Samui.