Tourist trip ends in tragedy for British couple on honeymoon

Wedding of Tim O'Connor to Moncia O'Connor this month May 2016. Photo / supplied via Facebook
Wedding of Tim O'Connor to Moncia O'Connor this month May 2016. Photo / supplied via Facebook

A British woman killed when a speedboat full of tourists capsized in Thailand was on honeymoon after her dream wedding.

Monica O'Connor, 28, from Manchester, married new husband Tim in a "beautiful" ceremony on May 7 - before leaving on what should have been the holiday of a lifetime, the Daily Mail reported.

But the idyllic celebration turned into a nightmare when the couple's speedboat was struck by a "big wave" and capsized off the island of Koh Samui on Thursday afternoon.

Wedding of Tim O'Connor to Moncia O'Connor this month May 2016. Photo / supplied via Facebook
Wedding of Tim O'Connor to Moncia O'Connor this month May 2016. Photo / supplied via Facebook

A heartbreaking photograph from the couple's wedding shows them holding hands underneath a cloud of pink blossom, while another shows the pair at the reception.

A third, taken before the ceremony, shows the couple's pet chow-chow Jasper being prepared for his role of walking down the aisle.

Mrs O'Connor, who earned an International Business degree from the University of Manchester, was working as a manager at Deloitte.

Rescue workers smash a hole in a capsized boat to retrieve a woman on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP
Rescue workers smash a hole in a capsized boat to retrieve a woman on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP

Both Thailand's marine police and the company that owned the speedboat have confirmed the names of those killed and injured in the crash.

Of the 33 passengers on board, there were eight Britons, nine Germans, four Australians, four Romanians, six Chinese and two from Thailand.

Mrs O'Connor has been confirmed dead, while Briton Jason Parnell, 46 - who was celebrating his first wedding anniversary - is still missing.

While Mr Parnell became trapped under the boat, his wife Puja, 31, managed to escape.

A German woman, Kafo Franeiska, 29, has also been confirmed dead by Thai authorities.

A woman from Hong Kong in her 30s is also missing, according to police.

The boat was travelling from Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park when it was struck by the wave and capsized at 5pm local time.

Some of those on board were thrown overboard and became trapped underneath it.

A woman gestures after she was rescued from a capsized boat on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP
A woman gestures after she was rescued from a capsized boat on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP

Video and pictures captured the desperate rescue operations by locals and Thai marine police who had to use a hammer to smash through the hull to rescue the trapped victims.

Four tourists - from the UK, Australia, Germany and Romania - were taken to hospital on the island for treatment.

One has a broken shoulder and another is being treated for a skull fracture.

Two more suffered from a lack of oxygen and were being monitored for lung infections.

The other British tourists on board are understood to have been released from hospital following treatment for any injuries.

Apichart Boonsriro, the commander of Surat Thani provincial police, said: "Weather was the cause of the accident because it created high waves, but the boat was also being driven at a high speed."

Missing: Leicester fan Jason Parnell, 46, from Loughborough was on the tragic boat in Thailand.

Sanan Seekakiaw, the Thai captain of the Ang Thong Explorer speedboat, has been detained and charged with negligence that led to deaths and injuries.

He said he had asked all tourists to wear a life vest but that some had taken them off during the journey.

Rescued tourists rest on the shore after their boat capsized on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP
Rescued tourists rest on the shore after their boat capsized on Koh Samui, Thailand. Photo / AP

But the province's governor said only one of the deceased was found wearing a life jacket and called on authorities to "strictly" enforce laws that require boat passengers to wear life vests.

The regulation is rarely respected on the notoriously reckless speed boats that ferry tourists around Thailand's famed beaches and often lack an adequate supply of life vests.

"If tourists refuse to wear [life vests] then crew should not allow them on to the boat," said the governor, Wongsiri Phromchana.

Travel agent Amm Pontfuk, who has worked with Ang Thong Discovery for a number of years, said the boat had not been out on the water in recent days due to rough conditions.

She said: "This company is the No 1 for my travel agency, I have sent the manager customers for years, I have known him a long time.

"He is very concerned and professional, normally in bad weather he doesn't go out.

'He did not go out for three days already and yesterday he thought the weather was OK and that was why he went out.

"The wind blew very, very strong and it made the boat go under the waves and flip."

Local media report many victims were rescued by a passing speedboat, while others were forced to wait for a rescue vessel.

The British Foreign Office confirmed the death of a British woman and said it was assisting her family.

A spokeswoman told MailOnline: 'We are supporting the family of a British woman who has sadly died following a boat accident near Koh Samui, Thailand.

"We are also supporting the family of a British man who is missing following the same incident. We remain in contact with local authorities in Thailand for further information."

The German Embassy in Bangkok was not available to comment.

Tourism is a key source of revenue for Thailand, but accidents involving tourists are common in a country where safety regulations are often weakly enforced.

In recent years the kingdom's reputation as a tourist haven has been tarnished by bus and boat accidents, political violence and crimes against foreigners.

In January a speedboat struck and instantly killed a French tourist while she was snorkelling in waters reserved for swimmers off a Thai island in Krabi province.

- Daily Mail

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