Five dead in Sa­gaing ferry sink­ing

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­times.com

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

Photo: Myan­mar Fire Ser­vices Depart­ment

Vol­un­teers and fire­fight­ers carry out a search after the sink­ing of the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw ferry on Oc­to­ber 15.

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