Australian to be charged over partner's jet ski death, Thai police say

The sun sets over Patong beach in Thailand's Phuket province Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Phuket is a popular holiday destination for Australian tourists

An Australian man will face a reckless driving charge over a jet ski collision that killed his partner in Thailand, police say.

Emily Jayne Collie, 20, died in the crash involving two rented jet skis on the resort island of Phuket on Sunday.

Thomas Keating, 22, told police that sunlight reflecting off the water prevented him from seeing Ms Collie, the Bangkok Post reported.

The Australian woman's family are travelling to collect her body.

"Ms Collie's boyfriend, Mr Keating, who was driving the other jet ski when they collided, will face a charge of reckless driving causing death," local police lieutenant Patiwat Yodkhwan told reporters.

She suffered neck and shoulder injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Australian consular officials are providing assistance to her family.

Relatives 'devastated'

Lt Patiwat said the jet ski owner did not want payment for damage to the machines because "he wants Phuket to have a good reputation as a holiday destination".

He said under an insurance policy taken out for the rental, Ms Collie's family will be entitled to a payment of 50,000 Thai baht (£1,145; $1,430).

Mr Keating's sister, Bree Lyon, told Fairfax Media her family was "absolutely devastated" about Ms Collie's death.

"I love how you loved my brother, the way you looked into his eyes with nothing but pure love, it was the truest thing I've ever been grateful to witness," she said.

Tourism is a key component of Thailand's economy, but the Australian government warns travellers of the risks of hiring jets skis and motorcycles in the country.

"Many vehicle hire companies do not have insurance and any damage, loss, or costs associated with injuries to third parties will be your responsibility to negotiate or pay," the warning on Australia's Smart Traveller website says.

"In addition to checking that your travel insurance covers hospital and other costs associated with motorbike, jet ski or other vehicle accidents, also ensure that the hiring company holds comprehensive insurance, including third-party, for the vehicle you are hiring."

More than 32 million foreign tourists visited Thailand in 2016.

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