50 dead after ferry in Myanmar capsizes

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

As many as 50 people have been killed after a wooden ferry capsized in the Irrawaddy delta region of Myanmar on Sunday night, according to officials.

The Nay Win Tun ran into an oil barge in the Irrawaddy delta, causing it to sink. The ferry, travelling from the town of Pathein to Thetkelthaung, is said to have had about 200 passengers on board at the time of the accident. The barge didn't sink, authorities said.

"The boat sank after colliding with an oil barge. We have recovered 34 bodies and there are at least another 16 people missing who are believed to have drowned. The other passengers were rescued from the water and have gone back to their home villages," said an unnamed official in the area.

Another official commented that "there is very little chance of finding those missing alive. Most of them are women and children."

Ferry accidents in Myanmar are not infrequent, as most of the country's population relies on old, frequently crowded water vessels for transportation, which are sometimes not well maintained.