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A Russian woman, declared dead in a ferry disaster near the Thai beach resort city of Pattaya, managed to survive, a Russian Embassy official said on Monday.
The Russian Embassy said earlier in the day that one 47-year-old Russian woman had died in the accident. “Miracles do happen sometimes. The Russian woman, who we all thought had died, in fact managed to escape the sinking ferry”.
The mistake was made by hospital staff: “they confused identities of a victim and a survivor,” said Andrei Dvornikov, an official with the Russian Embassy in Bangkok. He said Thai hospital staff mistook a victim, who is from Poland, for a Russian survivor taken to the same hospital.
The diplomat also did not confirm Thai media reports of two other Russian victims. The double-decker Ko Larn Travel-1 ferry, which had a capacity of 150 people, capsized on Sunday evening when an engine problem sent passengers rushing to the upper decks. Other reports suggested that the ferry had been overbalanced by a large wave.
According to police, the vessel was overloaded and lacked lifesaving equipment when the disaster struck. Thai police said that the captain of the ship, Saman Kuanmyang, 48, had been arrested on suspicion of negligence and dangerous handling of the vessel. A high-ranking police official in Pattaya, Suwan Cheawnavinthavat, told the National Channel 3 that the captain admitted being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, including during the ill-fated trip.
The Thai authorities confirmed the under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the accident. He has been taken into custody.The authorities have announced plans to pay compensation to the injured and the families of the dead.