Thursday, October 20, 2016

Myanmar boat accident death toll climbs to over 70

Burmese authorities have raised the death toll in the passenger boat accident in a river in western Myanmar to over 70, even as dozens remain missing, media reports said Thursday.


The ferry, overloaded with around 300 passengers on board, sank Saturday after hitting a rock near Kani municipality, while traveling from Homalin and Monywa in the Sagaing state.

Rescue teams managed to save 159 passengers and shifted them to hospitals or temples for medical assistance.

Many passengers had died trapped inside the boat as it was sinking, while other bodies were recovered floating across the river.

Survivor accounts as well as authorities say the boat that was found Monday, was carrying nearly 300 people, which was way over its capacity of between 120 to 150.

Regional minister for Shan ethnic affairs, Nan Hmway Hmway Khin, called for greater compliance with laws and tougher punishment for offenders and demanded the supervising committee that oversees this mode of transport, and which is currently monopolized by boat owners, be restructured.

Speaking to Eleven Media news portal, Nam said the committee must assume responsibility and accountability for the ferry mishap.

Meanwhile, the Burmese police have arrested four people in connection with the accident so far.

Last year, another passenger boat had capsized in the same river, killing 10 people.

Ferry accidents are common in Myanmar, owing to poor condition of boats and passenger overloading.
 EFE-EPA
20/10/16
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