More than 60 hospitalised as boat engine explodes in Bangkok

BANGKOK: More than 60 people were hospitalised Saturday, mostly for burns, after the engine on a Bangkok commuter boat burst into flames and sent passengers leaping to a nearby pier, officials said.

The crowded boat was ferrying passengers through a major canal in the eastern outskirts of the Thai capital, which boasts an extensive network of waterways that teem with motorised commuter boats during rush hour.

Most of the 65 injured were later released from the hospital, while 19 were still receiving treatment, according to the city’s Erawan emergency medical centre. The centre said three foreigners — two Myanmar nationals and one Japanese — were among those injured in the accident.

Bangkok’s police commissioner Sanit Mahathavorn said two passengers were seriously hurt by flying debris from the explosion, which rocked the wooden boat but largely left its hull intact. “Most of the injured passengers are suffering from burns,” he told reporters from Wat Thepleela pier, where the accident took place shortly after dawn.

An initial police investigation suggested the combustion was caused by a fuel leak onboard. “We found that gas leaked at the boat’s rear and caused an explosion in its engine,” the officer said.