Five dead in Sagaing ferry sinking
Firefighters and volunteers are continuing search and rescue operations following the sinking of a ferry in the Chindwin River in Sagaing Region on October 15.
DIVERS and local volunteers are continuing to search for survivors following the sinking of a ferry in the Chindwin River in Sagaing Region on October 15. At least five people are known to be dead, but fears are growing that the death toll will be much higher.
Though 160 of the passengers aboard the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw ferry have been rescued, there may have been as many as 300 on board, far above the authorised limit, according to survivors.
The ferry was heading to Monywa from Homalin in Sagaing Region on the morning of October 15 when the tragedy occurred. According to U Than Soe Nyunt, regional minister for electricity, industry and transportation, the search for the missing will continue.
“We’ve rescued more than 160 passengers and are continuing the search. We have found further bodies. At the moment, we can’t say anything more,” he said.
The ferry capsized as it approached Mee Chaung Dwing village in Kani township, Sagaing Region. Reports indicate it may have hit a rock.
“The search is continuing,” said fire service chief U San Min Aye last night. “So far, we can’t confirm the exact number of passengers on board. According to the passengers who have been rescued alive, the boat picked up additional passengers and goods on the way. From what they say, we fear the number of missing may be high.”
Reports received so far indicate the boat may already have been overloaded when it set out, and picked up more at Paungbyin. Passenger U Aung Kyaw Oo said there were about 300 passengers on board before it capsized.
“We told the waterways regulatory team that the passenger number was high, so it would be better to reduce the number after the boat left Homalin. Nothing seems to have been done, and now people are dead,” he said.
U Aung Kyaw Oo said the passengers included large number of university students, teachers and civil servants.
About 100 local residents have joined in the search, alongside divers. The regional fire service said an investigation had been launched into the sinking.
In November 2015, the Yarzar Tun ferry also sank in the Chindwin River, leaving at least 10 people dead.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe
Volunteers and firefighters carry out a search after the sinking of the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw ferry on October 15.