Viet Nam News
ĐÀ NẴNG — The corpses of three missing people, including two children, from a boat that capsized in the Hàn River in the central city of Đà Nẵng on Saturday were found at about 5pm yesterday.
Phạm Tấn Cường, 46, from the northern province of Bình Định, was found on Nguyễn Tất Thành coastal street, 8km from where the boat sank, in Thanh Khê District, chairman of the municipal people’s committee, Huỳnh Đức Thơ confirmed.
Rescue forces found the corpse of 4-year-old Trịnh Huy Hoàng near a coastal street in Thanh Khê District, around 8km from the Hàn River, and his sister, 7-year-old Trịnh Thị Phượng, was found 800m from the accident site. Both children were from northern Thái Nguyên Province.
More than 1,000 rescue workers, soldiers, divers and fishermen assisted in the search for the missing passengers from Saturday night.
A report issued yesterday morning said 53 tourists, as well as a seaman on the boat, were rescued. Six victims have since been released following treatment from hospital, but 16 victims – including 11 children between 3 and 11 years old – are still being treated at the city’s general hospital and Obstetrics and Pediatrics hospital.
Speaking at the Hàn River port yesterday, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc praised the efforts of the central city’s People’s Committee, rescue forces and local fishermen, in their efforts to rescue and search for victims.
The Prime Minister described the accident as the most serious violation of waterway traffic, resulting in injuries and property losses.
He asked the city to provide support for the victims’ families and do more in its investigation to determine the cause of the accident and then to prosecute the case.
“It’s a very serious accident and violation of waterway traffic. The boat was operating without permission, and the owner intentionally carried double the number of passengers and overloaded its capacity,” Phúc said.
He asked for strict control and management in waterway transport and cruises throughout the country to assure safe conditions for boat services and rescue equipment aboard cruise ships.
The local authorites banned all cruise trips on the Hàn River from yesterday.
The boat, which carried 56 passengers, capsized 15 minutes after leaving the Hàn River Port for a night cruise around 8.30pm on Saturday.
According to the city’s report, the boat did not have permission to offer tours on the Hàn River. Also, most passengers were not wearing life-jackets aboard the boat. It also left the port without receiving permission from the city’s port authority, the report added.
The boat, which was modified from a fishing vessel to a cruise boat, intentionally transported 50 passengers, while it was registered to carry only 28, said officials.
According to the city’s transport department, the boat was allowed 12 tourists on its upper deck and 25 on the lower deck. However, nearly 50 tourists, mostly from the northern provinces and Hà Nội, crowded the upper deck when the boat left the port.
Meanwhile, Lê Công Chí, the boat’s pilot, was arrested on Saturday by the city’s Border Guard Force, pending further investigation.
Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Huỳnh Đức Thơ described the capsizing as the worst seaway accident in the city’s history.
Also, Deputy Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, Khuất Việt Hùng, praised the efforts of rescue forces and the city in saving victims of the boat accident.
He said the search and rescue activities were well organised among rescue forces and included special military forces, traffic police, border guards, the port service agency and fishermen.
Their efforts resulted in saving the lives of 53 people.
The city has since released an official list of the tourists onboard the boat. — VNS