Multiple fatalities as Myanmar crammed ferry capsizes

October 17, 2016 8:00 am

In this May 20, 2015 file photo, refugees from , including Rohingya Muslims, are seen on board a crammed boat as they wait to be rescued by Aceh fishermen on the sea off East Aceh, Indonesia. (By AP)

A crammed ferry, carrying teachers, students and workers, has capsized in a river in central Myanmar, leaving at least 14 people dead and dozens of others missing.
Officials said on Monday that the vessel sank in the Chindwin River early on Saturday as it was heading from the town of Homalin to the city of Monywa.
“So far, we have found 14 dead bodies from the river, but we still need to identify them,” Sa Willy Frient, the director of the local relief and resettlement department, said.
He estimated that some 240-250 people were on board the boat, nearly 100 more than its capacity.
“It was mainly university students and school teachers on the ferry that day.” Frient said. “I think around 70 or 80 university students and about 30 school teachers, and also doctors.”
Rescuers have reportedly saved the lives of a total of 154 people from the overturned boat so far and warned that the death toll could hit 100.
Myanmar has witnessed similar incidents before, when boats carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution and violence in the western Rakhine State sank.
The Muslim minority group has witnessed attacks by extremist Buddhists. The violence has forced nearly 100,000 of them to flee Myanmar.
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