75 People Flee Capsized Cruise Ship Before It Sinks Underwater

Dozens of people had to be evacuated from a large cruise ship as it began to sink into a river in Thailand's capital of Bangkok.

All 75 passengers and crew members managed to safely disembark as the High Season 1 sank near a private pier in Soi Somdet Chaophraya 1 in Bangkok's Khlong San district on Sunday evening.

The passengers were mainly Thai and foreign tourists who had been picked up at a pier of a hotel on Rama III Road for a cruise up the river on the Chao Praya River.
"The ship made a U-turn to return to the hotel when it reached Phra Pok Klao Bridge. The operator noticed that the ship was tilting to the right side, probably caused by a leak," Jakkri Sriraksa, 31, of the from Khlong San Rescue Volunteer Foundation, said, reported The Nation Thailand.

"They radioed the nearest pier for emergency embarking and safely evacuated all 75 passengers and staff on the shore."

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the sinking of the boat measuring three storeys in height.

"The ship was carrying 60 passengers, most of them Thai and Chinese tourists, while the rest were staff," said Pol Maj-General Samrid Tongtao, chief of Metropolitan Police 8, reported Asia One.

"Officials have contacted the Marine Department to salvage the ship from the river.

"There are no reports of the accident causing damage to any public property and there were no casualties."

The incident occurred after another boat capsized during stormy weather while it was traveling back from the Thailand resort island of Koh Samui on Saturday.

At least two people have been found dead, with a further three still unaccounted for, after the Raja 4 capsized while heading to the mainland.

One of the bodies which has been recovered is that of Tewin Surat, the skipper of the Raja 4.

The vessel had a total of 16 people on board, 12 of whom were employees of Raja Ferry. The remaining four were garbage and pickup truck drivers, reported The Bangkok Post.

The Marine Department said they will release a report into the ship's sinking.
Witthaya Yamuang, director-general of the Marine Department said that if the investigation finds that the ferry's operator is to blame, those responsible could face six months in prison and a fine of up to 20,000 baht ($640).

Piya Nunil, chief of the Ang Thong Islands National Marine Park, also ordered the closure of the marine park until at least Wednesday for safety reasons as tropical storm "Sinlaku" was on course to hit mainland Vietnam.

Chao Phraya River
People take commuter ferries on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on March 16, 2020. A large cruise liner sank in the Bangkok river on Sunday, resulting in all 75 on board being forced to disembark. LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty