Two South Korean tourists died when their wives’ golf carts rammed into their golf cart, sending them into a muddy river, where they later drowned, according to reports.
The couples were on vacation in Thailand for the Christmas holiday season when they went golfing at a course in Phitsanulok. The two were in a golf cart preparing to cross the river when their wives’ vehicle failed to stop and hit them from behind, knocking their cart off a floating platform, according to the BBC on Dec. 27.
More than 50 rescue workers from the military and police looked for the missing men.
The bodies of Jun Yong Sung, 68, and Jaseoong Ha, 76, were recovered in the Nan River. CNN reported that Sung Jun-yong’s body was found on Dec. 25, while Jaseoong Ha’s body was found on Thursday.
“Their wives said both were able to swim but I think the cause of drowning was the strong undercurrent,” a police spokesperson told AFP.
The caddie for the tourists also fell into the Nan River but was rescued by a fisherman. The Guardian reported that the women were also tossed into the river, but they were rescued.
Ok Su Kim, the wife of one of the victims, was hospitalized for injuries during the crash, Fox News reported.
Police said they are looking into the incident and will examine the safety of the river raft.
Other details about the crash are not clear.
Thailand, on average, sees 35 million tourists each year, but tourism took a dive in 2018 after a ferry carrying Chinese tourists sank in July, killing 47 people. Tourism immediately took a hit after the accident, the Guardian noted.
According to The Thaiger, due to the accident, “Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has officially revised down its forecast for July to December by nearly 670,000, to 5.1 million Chinese tourists.”
But following the crash, a Thai government minister on Monday blamed Chinese tour operators after the ferry crash, Reuters reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan blamed Chinese tour operators for not respecting Thai safety legislation. “Some Chinese use Thai nominees to bring Chinese tourists in … they did not heed warnings … which is why this incident happened. This needs to be remedied,” Prawit said.
Thailand’s tourism ministry said it would give $30,202 (1 million baht) in compensation to each family of the victims.
Tourism accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, making it one of the most important drivers of growth, and such disasters inevitably raise questions about damage to the industry.
In August 2015, 20 people were killed, many of them Chinese tourists, in a bombing at a Bangkok shrine, the worst attack of its kind on Thai soil. Chinese tourist arrivals dipped slightly after the attack but soon recovered.
Months before that, Thailand’s famous beach from the movie “The Beach,” closed down, according to Business Insider. A 23-year-old tourist, Lara Vogelsberg, said at the time: “The beach in the film is very relaxing, there are no people to be seen, and you get this idea of a very lonely place in the middle of nowhere. Then you come here and you think you’re in Times Square in New York.”
Reuters contributed to this report.