Friday, September 30, 2022

Myanmar wedding boat toll rises to 30

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This photo taken on April 7, 2017 shows Myanmar soldiers and members of a rescue team carrying the body of a ferry passenger after the ship sank in the Nga Wun River in Pathein, a port city west of the commercial capital Yangon. At least 20 people were killed when a boat carrying scores of wedding guests collided with a river barge at night in western Myanmar, authorities said on April 8, with more feared drowned as rescue workers renewed their search in daylight. STR / AFP

Rescuers Sunday found more bodies from a boat accident in western Myanmar that has now claimed the lives of at least 30 people, most of them guests returning from a wedding.
The boat, called “Silver Star” in Burmese, sank Friday evening in a river near Pathein, a port city west of Yangon.

It was believed to be carrying around 60 passengers when it collided with another vessel in the dark. Rescuers pulled 21 bodies from the river on Saturday and have since discovered more victims.

“We got nine dead bodies, three men and six women, today,” a police officer at Pathein police station told AFP, asking not to be named. It is unlikely there are many more victims to be found. On Saturday evening a local MP said nine people were missing.

Local media photos showed frenzied scenes as rescuers worked throughout the early hours of Saturday to wheel stretchers away from the river and lay bodies onshore. Fatal boat accidents are common in Myanmar, a poor country with rudimentary transport and weakly-enforced safety regulations.

Vessels ferrying people along the coastline and rivers are often dangerously overcrowded, and accidents can have staggering death tolls. It can also take several days for all bodies to be retrieved.

Last October 73 people, including many teachers and students, drowned when their overloaded vessel capsized in central Myanmar on the Chindwin River. Around 60 people died in March 2015 when their ferry sank in rough waters off the western state of Rakhine.

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