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The speedboat driver who claimed he was “picking up a plastic bag from the cabin floor” when his boat full of tourists rammed a fishing trawler, leaving two Koreans dead and dozens injured last year, has been sentenced to two years in jail.
Surat Mat-Osot was charged with reckless piloting causing death and damaged property.
“He was found guilty on March 26 and sentenced to two years in prison,” Maj Sopon Khongtong of the Krabi police told The Phuket News.
“No Thai tourists filed a complaint against the boat company and the victims’ families did not file a complaint either,” Maj Sopon said.
“I have no information about whether or not the Seastar boat company has already settled for property damages. We only handled the criminal charge against Mr Surat. Everything else is up to the court to decide.”
Surat, 36-year-old Krabi native, was arrested by Krabi Police and charged with reckless piloting resulting in injury when he crashed the Seastar 29 speedboat, owned by the company Vita 2, full of some 40 tourists and on the return leg to Phuket from Koh Phi Phi with a Thai fishing boat in October 2014.
The collision flung tourists around the inside of the boat and into the water. Most were not wearing life vests. Two Korean tourists were later found dead at the bottom of Phang Nga bay.
Surat told police in his statement that he had bent down to secure a black plastic bag that was blowing about the boat, and when he straightened up he saw the trawler Sinpichai 11 dead ahead.
He turned sharply to try to avoid a collision but the speedboat became caught up in the trawler’s fishing equipment and slammed into the fishing boat’s stern.