Russian boy 7th victim of Thai ferry accident

BANGKOK - A 12-year-old Russian boy died on Thursday from injuries sustained in a Thai tourist ferry disaster, raising the death toll to seven, the police said.

The double-decker boat went down on Sunday near the popular coastal resort of Pattaya, around 150km south-east of Bangkok.

A Polish couple, a man from Hong Kong and three Thai passengers also died.

The Russian boy, who had been in critical condition, died in a hospital in the nearby city of Si Racha on Thursday, Pattaya police commander Suwarn Chiewnawintawat said by telephone.

"There are three other people in hospital but they are out of danger," he added.

Staff at the hospital where the boy was being treated said he never regained consciousness and developed respiratory problems and swelling of the brain.

Survivors recounted scrambling for life jackets as water poured on board, forcing them to the upper deck where the boat became unstable before sinking rapidly.

The cause of the accident remains unknown but the co-owner of the boat's operator has said the ferry might have hit a rock or other object, ripping a hole in its hull.

The boat captain has been charged with causing death through negligence.

The incident has revived fears over safety standards in the kingdom, which drew a record 22 million tourists last year.