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