Death Toll Rises to 30 in Pathein Boat Tragedy

By Salai Thant Zin 10 April 2017

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division— The bodies of 10 missing people from a capsized ferry in the Irrawaddy Delta were recovered on Sunday morning, bringing the death toll to 30.

The ferry, which was carrying around 66 people, capsized in the Ngawun River near Pathein after colliding with a boat carrying gravel around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The ferry was going from Pathein to Yakhinekone Village in Ngapudaw Township. Most of the ferry’s passengers were returning from a wedding ceremony.

Thirty people—26 males and four females—were rescued from the capsized boat, but 20 others—16 females and four males drowned.

A team consisting of naval police, Pathein-based naval troops, firefighters and army engineering troops continued searching for missing persons, and recovered the 10 bodies—including the ferry helmsman, six women, a boy and two girls—on Sunday morning.

“Eight bodies surfaced in the Ngawun River near Pathein and two bodies surfaced near Ohnbinsu Village in Ngapudaw Township,” said an officer supervising the operation.

All of the victims are from Ngapudaw’s Yakhinekone Village.

“We have registered and kept jewelry found on the bodies. We will notify the victims’ families and return everything,” police officer Thein Min Oo told The Irrawaddy.

According to the wishes of the victims’ families, the bodies of 19 victims were cremated in Pathein on Saturday.

Police have detained and opened a case against Ko Thiha Aung, a second helmsman of the capsized Ngwe Kyel Pwint, and U Aung, the helmsman of the boat carrying gravel.