Boat Crash Kills Five in Sagaing

By Zarni Mann 27 May 2019

Mandalay—A boat accident on the Chindwin River left five dead Sunday at Monywa, in Sagaing Region.

A small cargo boat carrying 11 passengers, including driver and crew, was heading from Monywa to Kalaywa with a load of oil barrels when it clipped another vessel.

“The boat was speeding up to pass [another] other boat, near [a] bridge pillar. Then it lost control and hit the other boat with its side and sank,” said Ko Kyaw Soe, who witnessed the incident.

According to the rescue team, the dead bodies of the boat’s driver, two crew members and two children were later taken from the boat.

“The authorities are investigating the accident. The waterway near the bridge is narrow, especially in summer,” Ko Kyaw Soe said, adding that many similar accidents have occurred there.

The 750-mile-long Chindwin River connects Monywa in central Sagaing Region with Khamti, Htamanthi, Hommalin, Mawlite, Kalaywa, Minkin and Kani in upper Sagaing.

The Chindwin River is used to transport many goods and commodities in the region, as well as passenger boats. Because it flows through mountainous terrain, travel along the river is dangerous and fatalities are common, according to local river transport authorities.

River transport authorities have issued several warnings and instated rules and regulations against driving at high speeds and overloading cargo, with fines and sentences for violations of up up 300,000 kyats (US$195) and three years in prison.

Despite rules and regulations, accidents on the river will never go away if boat operators aren’t obeying them or authorities aren’t enforcing them, said U Aung San Myint, who operates a boat on the Chindwin River.

“There still are the ego and greed of the boat owners who want to overload to gain more money and bribe the authorities. If everyone respects the law and follows it strictly, there won’t be such sad accidents,” he said.

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