Drought conditions contributed to the deaths of five people yesterday in Uttaradit province, where a boat capsized after striking a tree stump and capsizing in a reservoir.
The Monday morning ferry was carrying 10 passengers from the Ban Huay Ta community across the Sirikit Dam reservoir to the Ta Pla subdistrict. After traveling an hour and a half, the boat hit the submerged stump, which had become a hazard due to extremely low water levels brought on by the drought crisis.
The 15-meter boat went down; none of the passengers wore life jackets. Five people – four passengers and the pilot – were drowned. Rescuers were alerted to the accident and able to rescue the six survivors.
Thailand’s ongoing drought crisis this year is expected to be the worst in 40 years and impact millions of livelihoods. Water levels are critically low throughout the realm, the Mekong River has been running low and crops have gone dry. In the capital, that’s meant brackish, salty tap water in many households due to increased salinity in the Chao Phraya River.