'˜Big celebration' planned for Scots rescued from burning boat in Thailand

The minister of a church attended by two of the Scots tourists rescued from a burning boat in Thailand has told how the congregation plans to have 'a big celebration' when the pair return home.

Lilia, 68 and Bill Tennant, 65, were with seven friends on a yacht off Phuket on Saturday when it was struck by lightning during a tropical storm and burst into flames.

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Nine Scots rescued from burning yacht hit by lightning off Thailand

Reverend Bryan Kerr of Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark said that the local pair were experienced sailors.

The incident took place off the coast of Phuket in Thailand. Pictures: Google Maps/ Pexels Free Image

“The fact that they got out and they are safe and well is something we want to give thanks for and also to those who rescued them,” he said.

“Once they get back, I’m sure there will be a big celebration in the congregation.”

Mr and Mrs Tennant, who hold the positions of rollkeeper and convenor respectively in the church’s Pastoral Action Group, were on holiday with friends Kelvin Atkinson, 65, and Susan Atkinson, 64; Catherine Toy, 64, and Stewart Toy, 66, Anne Anderson, 63, and Martin Anderson, 59; and Margaret Hamilton, 64.

Mr and Mrs Toy are also believed to be from Lanark, where Mrs Toy previously worked as Community Planning Coordinator at South Lanarkshire Council.

Local police said all the holidaymakers had been safely rescued with the help of local fisherman.

Reports claimed that the group - four married couples and another woman - had sheltered below deck as the storm struck.

Marine chief Wiwat Chitchertwong said all the holidaymakers were safely rescued.

He said: “Police were notified at 5pm that there was heavy rain and lightning that struck the boat. This caused a fire. People were already sheltering downstairs in the boat to shelter from the rain when the lightning struck.”

Lt Col Brapan Chanprakon added: “There were nine passengers on board and assisted by fishing ships they landed safely. There were no injuries or deaths.

“The police department is investigating and speaking with witnesses and boat owner.”

Thai marine officials have told other sailors to be careful in the area where the luxury yacht, called ‘Emmjay’, sank. The accident happened when the 51-foot yacht caught fire between Koh Ngam and Koh Payu in Paklok.