Monday, January 26, 2009
At least 39 people drowned and five were missing after a river boat accident in Vietnam Sunday when a crowded vessel sank while taking people to a market, online news site VnExpress said. The boat sank in strong currents 65 feet from shore on the Gianh river in central Quang Binh province, a survivor and a provincial official were quoted as telling the VnExpress online news portal. "They have already recovered 39 bodies," Quang Binh provincial people's committee chairman Phan Lam Phuong was quoted as saying. "Most of them are women and children.They have saved 36 other people." Five people remained missing hours after the accident that happened at 0100 GMT on the river south of Vinh city, the online report said. The accident happened in chilly temperatures when passengers stood up in a rush to get off the boat as it approached a pier on the river, one of the survivors, identified as Cao Thi Huong, 39, was quoted as saying. The boat, carrying about 80 people, had been licensed to carry 40 to 50 people, said the report. Police detained the captain and owner of the boat, 44-year-old Nguyen Xuan Quy, while investigating the accident, VnExpress said.