The Irrawaddy

4 Missing After Yangon-Dala Ferry Capsizes

A ferry prepares to leave Yangon's Pansodan jetty for Dala in April.

YANGON — Four people are missing after a small ferry capsized Wednesday evening between Yangon and Dala, lawmaker U Tun Yin, who represents Dala Township in the Yangon Region Parliament, told The Irrawaddy.

The ferry capsized after leaving the Sin Oh Dan jetty in Yangon for the Kama Kathwel jetty in Dala once its engine broke down at about 8:30 p.m., he said.

“The engine of the ferry boat got entangled in flotsam and went under a ship that was docked at the Sule jetty,” U Tun Yin said.

Twelve people including the helmsman were on board the ferry and eight of them were rescued, according to police. All four missing people are Dala residents.

“We are searching for them with five ferry boats,” U Myint Htoo, chairman of the Ferry Boat Helmsmen Association, told The Irrawaddy Thursday morning.

Police have opened a case against the helmsman of the capsized ferry, U Kyaw Min, in connection with the accident.

On Dec. 20, three passengers died when their ferry sank, also between Yangon and Dala. Survivors of that accident likewise blamed it on flotsam.

U Tun Yin said there were about 100 motorboat ferries that transport passengers between Yangon and three jetties in Dala. But he said the boats were tightly packed around the jetties and had little room to maneuver.

While a few larger ferries ply the same route, some passengers prefer the smaller boats for their speed.

A lawmaker from Seikkan Township has previously urged the regional Parliament to ensure that larger vessels dock far from the jetties the smaller ferries use for their safety, but to little effect.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.