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A panel has been set up by the Marine Department to determine how a ferry headed from Koh Samui to Don Sak Pier capsized during a Saturday storm.
Witthaya Yamuang, Marine Department's director-general, said the Raja 4 capsized Sunday as it made its way back to the mainland from the resort island. He said the report will be published within 15 days.
He said if the panel finds that the sinking is caused by a fault on the part of the ferry operator, those involved will face up to six months in jail and fines not exceeding 20,000 baht.
Twelve of the 16 passengers on board had been Raja Ferry employees.
The other four were the three lorries drivers, and the pick-up.
Initially, seven people were reported missing, but Surat Thani Governor Wichawut Jinto announced on Sunday that two people were rescued from the water and the body of the ferry skipper was found — leaving four still unaccounted for.
The Raja 4, operated by Raja Ferry Plc, was loaded with garbage, three 10-wheeled lorries and a pick-up truck when it sank some 2 nautical miles off Koh Samui, where it ran into the storm.
At about 10 pm, the vessel was hit by high waves and capsized, just as it passed between Koh 4 and Koh 5.
A rescue operation center was established on Koh Samui, with Mr Wichawut as its director. Mr Pachara, a survivor, said that he had drifted for two or three hours in the sea, kept a rubber buoy afloat. He drifted to Koh Taen where islanders helped him.
Meanwhile the Chao Phraya River capsized a passenger boat. All 60 passengers and crew have been bailed out. Authorities were still on Sunday night looking into the cause.
Source Bangkok Post