15 die, 13 miss­ing in boat ac­ci­dent

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DIVERS lo­cated the body of a young boy yes­ter­day as they re­sumed their search for miss­ing pas­sen­gers af­ter an over­crowded boat car­ry­ing Mus­lim pil­grims sank in Thai­land’s Chao Phraya River, leav­ing at least 15 peo­ple dead.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened on Septem­ber 18 near the an­cient city of Ayut­thaya, a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion, when a boat packed with pil­grims re­turn­ing from a mosque hit a con­crete bank in strong cur­rents.

Scores of peo­ple lined the bank yes­ter­day as divers plunged into the swollen brown waters for the grim task of search­ing the par­tially sub­merged boat for pas­sen­gers.

Distraught rel­a­tives wept as the body of an eight-year-old boy was pulled from the wreck­age and laid in a white plas­tic sheet, an AFP team on site re­ported.

Res­cuers used a white-board to keep track of those still miss­ing, which by lunchtime stood at 13 named in­di­vid­u­als, six of whom were chil­dren.

Ayut­thaya deputy gov­er­nor Re­wat Pra­song said the con­firmed death toll stood at 15, with 14 peo­ple hos­pi­talised. There were no for­eign­ers among the vic­tims.

The boat’s cap­tain is in cus­tody and faces a neg­li­gence charge af­ter al­low­ing the dou­ble-decked ves­sel to be­come over­crowded with pas­sen­gers, po­lice told AFP.

“The boat has per­mis­sion to carry about 50 peo­ple but it was car­ry­ing more than 100 peo­ple,” said Ayut­thaya po­lice chief Sudhi Pueng­pikul.

Tele­vi­sion footage showed the boat stop­ping abruptly as it ap­peared to hit the con­crete bank, and sink­ing in sec­onds. –

Photo: AFP

The body of a woman is re­cov­ered by res­cue work­ers from the Chao Praya River in the prov­ince of Ayut­thaya yes­ter­day.

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