Ar­rests af­ter ferry dis­as­ter

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

Po­lice an­nounced the ar­rest of four sus­pects amid a crack­down on ferry op­er­a­tors, while res­cue teams con­tin­ued the search for pas­sen­gers from the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2.

PO­LICE have an­nounced a crack­down on ferry op­er­a­tors in the wake of the loss of the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2, which went down in the Chind­win River on Oc­to­ber 15 with the con­firmed loss, so far, of dozens of pas­sen­gers.

Sur­vivors of the dis­as­ter said the stricken ferry was over­loaded with both pas­sen­gers and cargo on its trip from Ho­ma­lin to Monywa in Sa­gaing Re­gion.

Pre­lim­i­nary re­ports in­di­cate the ves­sel cap­sized af­ter hit­ting a rock as it ap­proached Mee Chaung Dwing vil­lage in Kani town­ship, Sa­gaing Re­gion.

As of yes­ter­day morn­ing, 25 bod­ies had been re­cov­ered, U San Min Aye, head of Sa­gaing Re­gion Fire Ser­vices, told The Myan­mar Times. Yes­ter­day evening, AFP re­ported that 32 bod­ies had been re­cov­ered from the river and of­fi­cials were pre­par­ing to raise the sunken ves­sel from the riverbed.

“We’re con­tin­u­ing the search ... [which] is con­cen­trated in the area the ferry cap­sized, and we’re try­ing to re­cover the wreck,” U San Min Aye said.

The fire depart­ment has counted 199 sur­vivors so far. One sur­vivor, U Aung Kyaw Oo, said there may have been as many as 300 pas­sen­gers on board the ferry, far above the au­tho­rised limit and in­di­cat­ing that 70 or 80 re­main to be ac­counted for.

Ac­cord­ing to AFP, some 30 teach­ers were thought to be among the pas­sen­gers, along with dozens of stu­dents from Monywa uni­ver­si­ties and work­ers head­ing home for Thad­ingyut.

Since the sink­ing, divers and about 100 lo­cal res­i­dents have joined the search for sur­vivors and re­mains.

Po­lice Colonel Lu Lu Than of Sa­gaing Re­gion Po­lice said, “We are go­ing to in­spect care­fully all fer­ries op­er­at­ing in the Chind­win River to en­sure they do not carry pas­sen­gers or cargo above the au­tho­rised limit. The chief min­is­ter has in­structed that this must never hap­pen again, and we will def­i­nitely take ac­tion from now on. We will also take ac­tion if in­spec­tions are per­formed care­lessly.” Po­lice have made four ar­rests.

The sur­vivors have been lodged at nearby monas­ter­ies and pro­vided with money by the re­gional gov­ern­ment, said U Than Soe Nyunt, Sa­gaing’s trans­port min­is­ter.

Most of the pas­sen­gers were teach­ers, doc­tors and stu­dents, sur­vivors said.

– Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

Photo: AFP/Myan­mar Fire Ser­vices Depart­ment

Res­cue per­son­nel con­tinue to search for pas­sen­gers af­ter the Aung Soe Moe Kyaw 2 cap­sized on Oc­to­ber 15.

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