Groom’s devastation to learn bride drowned when boat capsized on Thailand honeymoon

Monica O’Connor, 28, was sailing on the coast of Koh Samui with her new husband Tim, 31, three weeks after their wedding when their dream trip ended in tragedy.

Three others onboard were also killed on May 26 last year, after a monsoon overcame the boat, causing it to overturn, an inquest on Monday heard.

The grieving man from Sale, near Manchester, told the coroner how he managed to swim out from under the boat, but his wife was swept away and died, the Manchester Evening News reported.

“It happened incredibly quickly. The boat tipped onto its left side, so everyone sitting on the right fell onto the people sitting opposite them.

“Within a few seconds it tipped again. I lost my glasses, but it was so dark all you could see were people’s bodies,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It was quite chaotic. There were bits of the boat and life jackets floating around in the water.”

He said he didn’t learn of his bride’s death until he arrived at the hospital for treatment.

“The events of that day were terrifying and losing Monica has been devastating,” he said.

He hoped the inquest, at South Manchester Coroner’s Court, will help determine if more could have been done to improve safety on the boat and potentially prevent the drownings.

The inquest heard tour company Limited Partnership Anthong Discovery Tours, had sailed that day, despite warnings about the dangerous weather conditions.

During court proceedings in Thailand, the tour company reportedly admitted to causing death and injury due to recklessness. It was also revealed there were not enough life jackets available for the passengers onboard.

The company was fined $60 (1,500 Thai Baht) and the boat’s captain Sanan Sridakeow was sentenced to a year in prison and fined an additional $20 (500 Baht).

Giving evidence Mr O’Connor and another survivor Puja Parnell, whose husband was one of the four who died, told the court no safety briefing was given prior to sailing, and none of the tourists were wearing life vests when the boat capsized.

Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident team said there was no case to bring against the booking company in the UK, however specialist personal injury lawyers are investigating.

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