Australia

Thailand jet ski death: Parents do not place 'any blame'

Australian man Thomas Keating has been charged in Thailand Image copyright Seven News
Image caption Australian man Thomas Keating has been charged in Thailand

The parents of an Australian woman who died in a jet ski collision in Thailand say they do not hold her boyfriend responsible.

Thomas Keating, 22, has been charged with reckless driving over the death of 20-year-old Emily Jayne Collie.

The pair were riding separate jet skis when they collided on the resort island of Phuket on Sunday.

Mr Keating was accompanied by Ms Collie's parents when he was formally charged by police on Thursday.

The charge of reckless driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 20,000 Thai baht (£450; $570).

Ms Collie suffered neck and shoulder injuries in the crash and died while being taken to hospital.

Passport confiscated

Police told local media Mr Keating's case would be heard in about a month.

"The deceased's relatives have told police they understand that this was an accident and will not pursue the case," Col Sanya Thongsawad told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"Police don't have to detain him but he is now banned from leaving the country until the court process is completed."

Image copyright Seven News
Image caption Mr Keating arrives at a police station with members of both families

Col Sanya told the Phuket News he expected Mr Keating to receive a suspended sentence.

Mr Keating's passport was confiscated as "standard procedure", police said.

Family 'heartbroken'

Australian consular officials released a statement from Ms Collie's parents.

"This was a tragic accident. We do not believe anybody was at fault," Ian and Sally Collie said.

"We do not place any blame on Tom Keating, who we care about very much and who we know loved Emily deeply.

"We are all heartbroken beyond words, and at this extremely sad time, we wish to be together with our family, with Tom, and with other loved ones to grieve and celebrate Emily's life."

Friends of the couple have written messages of support for Mr Keating on Facebook. He has also shared his grief online.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thailand is a popular destination for Australian tourists

"I'll always be your boy and you'll always be my girl! We had so many plans for our future Emmy," Mr Keating said.

"I love you such much Emily and I wish I could just bring you back into my arms."

Ms Collie's parents are expected to return with her body to the state of Victoria this weekend.

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.

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