Man pleads guilty in jet-ski crash that killed his girlfriend; sun played a role

An Australia man faces an uncertain fate after pleading guilty Thursday to the charge of recklessly causing death in a jet-ski crash that killed his girlfriend in Thailand.

A police spokesman told Phuket News that it would take about a month for the case against Thomas Keating to be heard and that the 22-year-old would not be allowed to leave the country until then, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Keating and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Emily Collie, were on separate jet skis off Kata Beach on the Thai resort island of Phuket when the incident occurred.

The two were trying to splash each other when their watercraft collided, resulting in Collie sustaining serious neck and shoulder injuries. Lifeguards were unable to revive her on the beach.

“We do not place any blame on Tom Keating, who we care about very much and who we know loved Emily deeply,” a statement from the Collie family said, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“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.”

Keating has said the sunlight reflecting off the sea made it impossible for him to see Collie.

In a Facebook post soon after the accident, Keating wrote, "I love you so much Emily and I wish I could just bring you back into my arms…I’m so broken and I know I’ll never never be able to mend."

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Keating was charged under Section 291 of Thailand's criminal code, according to Agence France-Presse. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted, although a confession could result in a suspended sentence, Colonel Sanya Thongsawad of the Karon Police station in Phuket told AFP.

“It seems that they were having too much fun, driving in a zigzag to splash water at each other,” Sanya told AFP.