Two operators, whose boats collided near Koh Rong Sanloem, leaving one foreign passenger dead, have been arrested, police said on Wednesday.
Sihanoukville police chief Pol Phosda told The Post that Kong Ky, 47, and Morm Vy, 26, were detained immediately after their boats collided with each other on Tuesday evening.
The accident left one Romanian national, Bogdan-Mihail Ciuca, 35, dead. Two unidentified foreigners fainted in a near-drowning situation.
“At the moment, authorities are interrogating both operators to ascertain the cause leading to the accident, while preparing for a lawsuit to be filed in court for further actions,” Phosda said.
According to the local police at Koh Rong Sanloem commune who took part in the rescue effort, Morm Vy’s boat – loaded with 18 people, including the three victims – capsized after it was hit by Kong Ky’s which had three people.
Yit Nem Soty, the commune police chief, said within 15 minutes of the accident, the authorities rushed to rescue everyone but found the Romanian tourist already dead.
“The autopsy report showed a dark bruise on [the deceased’s] back. He might have died immediately after the collision,” said Soty, adding that Ciuca’s body was taken to the Preah Sihanouk provincial referral hospital and will be kept there until the Romanian Embassy officials collect it.
He said the two unconscious tourists were sent to a private clinic in Sihanoukville.
Sat Huong, 22, Vy’s brother-in-law who was on his boat, told The Post that Vy’s vessel was sailing slowly when Ky’s hit the former’s stern from the right side.
“Shortly after the impact, [Ky] and a foreign passenger called the police to rescue us,” he said, adding: “had they not helped, all of the other 17 people on [our boat], including myself and my brother-in-law, would have drowned.”
Koh Rong Sanloem commune chief, Chhoeun Chantha, stressed that both operators are responsible for the accident.
“Because one person died in the accident, as per law, it is a crime. The perpetrators may be imprisoned because of that. They are also responsible for compensating the victims,” he said.
Kong Ky could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.