Some 18 passengers and three crew were left stranded in open waters and forced to stay afloat for an hour after their tour boat caught fire and sank off the coast of Thailand, police said on Tuesday.
Nipon Kongkwan, chief of La-Ngu police station in Satun province told newsmen that the 21 passengers on board the diving trip boat were later rescued by a fishing boat and brought to shore in the southern town of Satun on Monday.
The captain of the tour boat said according to Nippon that the fire broke out when an inflammable object caught fire as the crew filled oxygen tanks for the dive.
The passengers had no choice but to jump from the boat, leaving behind all their belongings, including their passports, mobile phones, clothes and money.
The tourists included two Germans, four Finns, two Swedes, two Russians, four Brazilians, two Britons, one Spaniard and one Italian, local media Khaosod English reported.
Police in Satun province told newsmen the tourists had filed reports for their lost belongings, but no charge had been filed against the tour boat operators.
However, the local police could not yet reach an agreement which police station would gain the jurisdiction of the case.
The accident happened between Koh Lipe, an island popular with tourists, and Rok island.