A frantic rescue was launched to save 13 people on board a dive boat which sank off the southern Thailand coast.
Operators from other dive boats raced to the scene to pluck the passengers from the sea near the Similan islands yesterday.
News site Phuketwan reports the incident was likely to trigger a closer investigation of illegal boats that are said to operate in the Similans region with corrupt payments made to renegade marine park rangers.
Swedish diver Dennis Karlsson, who was on another boat, said the Aladdin sank in minutes: "It was just coincidence that our boat was there and could come to the rescue. It was really, really serious."
Phuketwan reports the wooden hull of the boat was holed and the vessel tipped then sank, with people scrambling to get off.
"People threw themselves headlong into the water. Some disappeared under the surface. It was a very close thing for some of them and people were so grateful that the Peter Pan was there," Mr Karlsson said.
Local park officials said the Aladdin was not a registered vessel and should not have been operating.