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16 hurt after Thai tourist boat explosion in Phi Phi Le island

BANGKOK A tourist speedboat carrying 31 passengers exploded along the coast of Phi Phi Le island in the southern Thailand province of Krabi yesterday. The boat ferried mostly tourists from China and Phi Phi police said 16 people were injured - 14 tourists and two crew members.

The speedboat, named King Poseidon, was ferrying the tourists from the nearby resort island of Phuket to Phi Phi before its engine caught fire and exploded.

Police are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Six of the injured are in a severe condition, Phi Phi hospital staff said, adding that seven people have been sent to hospitals in Phuket for further treatment.

Nine have been discharged.

Beach resorts and islands in southern Thailand are major tourist attractions, particularly during the high season from November to March.

Tourism accounts for around 12 per cent of South-east Asia's second-biggest economy.

The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects the country to welcome 37 to 38 million tourists this year.

Around 35 million visited Thailand last year, of which 10 million were from China. 
- REUTERS

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