QUANG NINH — Twelve people died, including 11 foreign tourists, when a tour boat sank in Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh Province early yesterday.
The site near Ti Top Island where the timber boat Truong Hai sank in Ha Long Bay yesterday morning killing 12 people on board - 11 tourists and one crew member. Nine foreigners and two Vietnamese crew members were pulled from the water after a seven-hour search-and-rescue mission. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Manh Tu
As many as 27 passengers and crew were sleeping on board when the vessel sank off Ti Top Island at about 5am.
Nine foreigners and two Vietnamese crew members were rescued in a seven hour search-and-rescue mission.
The timber vessel, named Truong Hai, was said to have been equipped with lifebuoys. However, as the accident occurred early in the morning, the tourists could not use them, Vu Van Thin, chief of Quang Ninh Province People's Committee Office said.
The bodies of the 12 victims were recovered within seven hours of the accident. The names of the victims have been officially confirmed by local police (see the list below).
The foreign passengers were from Australia, Britain, Denmark, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.
Corda Stephan from Italy, one of those rescued, recalled that the boat started to sink to one side at around 5am and he saw chairs and tables moving to one side.
He planned to call the captain but the boat sank too quickly, he said.
Another survivor, Sacconi Stefand from Italy, said when the accident happened, he jumped into the sea and kept swimming. He said that he was lucky to be rescued.
Initial findings point to a leak in the engine room as the cause of the accident.
The sunken vessel belonged to the Truong Hai Co Ltd and had been moored in the bay overnight. It left Bai Chay Port on Wednesday afternoon carrying tourists visiting Ha Long Bay.
"We need to investigate the accident, identify the cause and punish those responsible," said Nguyen Van Doc, chairman of the provincial People's Committee.
The committee said it was ready to satisfy the demands of victims' families, Doc said.
Local police have decided to prosecute the case, said Nguyen Thi Hien, chief of the provincial Traffic Safety Department's Office.
"After finding the leak in the engine room, crew members tried to inform the tourists and called for help from nearby," said Thin.
The sinking boat was salvaged yesterday afternoon, Thin said.
"The boat's register agency must take responsibility if any signs of substandard quality is found," he said.
According to the Ha Long Bay Management Board, 130 vessels moor in Ha Long Bay overnight. — VNS
The names of the dead in Ha Long Bay tragedy
1. Mccormick Stuart (Male, born 1980): British
2. Pyle Holly Michelle (Female, born 1985): American
3. Taylor Samantha Kay (Female, born 1989): American
4. Voropinova Elena (Female, born 1962): Russian
5. Voropinova Anastasia (Female, born 1987): Russian
6. Nakahara Jumpei (Male, born 1990): Japanese
7. Noblecourt Laetitia Francoise Monique (Female, born 1983): French
8. Bankestad Viola Birgitta (Female, born 1991): Swedish
9. Krok Anna Ellen (Female, born 1990): Swedish
10. Gerber Baniamin Charly (Male, born 1985): Swiss
11. Dinh Van Thang (Male, born 1983): Vietnamese
12. Lam Ngoc Chau (Man, born 1979): Australian
The names of the passengers who survived
1. Stobbe Marie Elisabeth (Female, born 1990): Danish
2. Pedersen Kasper Kammersgaard (Male, born 1987): Danish
3. Scattarelli Claudio (Male, born 1990): German
4. Sacconi Stefand (Male, born 1978): Italian
5. Corda Stefand (Male, born 1975): Italian
6. Fosmire George William (Male, born 1988): American
7. Nguyen Khuong Duy (Male, born 1975): Australian
8. Abrard James Dany Michel Eddy (Male, born 1983): French
9. Smhmidli Ramona (Female, born 1990): Swiss