Hartlepool couple stranded on island by tropical storm

Koh Phangan.
Koh Phangan.

A Hartlepool couple stranded on an island threatened by a tropical storm have spoken about their ordeal.

Katie Preston, 23, and her partner, Liam Bland, 29, took the last boat out to their holiday hotel on Koh Phangan, Thailand, before services were suspended ahead of the potential deluge.

Tropical storm Pabuk is expected to bring five-metre high waves and winds up to 46mph in southern areas of the south-east Asian country by 6am local time on Saturday.

Forecasters have also warned of possible flash flooding in certain areas caused by "forest runoffs" from the rain.

The Hartlepool couple arrived in Thailand on Boxing Day for a three-week holiday and have criticised the lack of information they've received.

"We hadn't heard about any storm and none of the staff we spoke to at Samui airport or at the boats mentioned it so we didn't know it was going to happen," Ms Preston said.

"When we were walking to the hotel we thought it seemed quiet but didn't think much of it until we read everyone had left and ours was the last boat over to Phangan before they were suspending the service.

Also read: Foreign Office's urgent advice for Thailand holidaymakers

"We haven't heard anything from any officials, I've only asked the hotel receptionist what we do if we need to leave, asking if someone will get us all out or if we make our own way.

"He said to just go ourselves and when I asked where to he said he's not sure."

Ms Preston said there is only one evacuation point on Koh Phangan which is "halfway up the island" from their hotel.

"The locals don't seem too bothered by it, they've been tying down their furniture but still been out on scooters so that's a bit reassuring!" she added.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said: "Tropical Storm Pabuk has made landfall in Thailand over Pak Phanang, Nakhon Si thammarat and is moving in a northwesterly direction.

"People on holiday in the region are advised to monitor news reports and follow any advice or instructions issued by the local authorities, their travel provider and their accommodation providers."