Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boat capsizes, two bodies recovered

Monday, 08 February 2010 23:30 Khai Suu

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A motor schooner carrying 23 people capsized on the 5th of this month while traveling downstream on the Pachan River along the Burma and Thailand border. Local residents said two female bodies believed to be from this capsized vessel were recovered yesterday evening.

The boat, operating under the cover of nighttime, was carrying 20 Burmese workers, most of whom were women, along with the boat’s operator, a 4-year old boy and a human trafficking agent when it capsized near the village of Ayechantharyar en route to the Thai settlement of Thitsetni.

All passengers except for the two female bodies recovered survived the accident.

"The boat was covered with a tarpaulin at the time when water entered the boat and sank it at 7 p.m. A 16-year old girl and about a 40-year old woman went missing. The rest survived the accident. Villagers went and tried to find them but could not. First a girl's body was recovered at 3 p.m. yesterday evening. Then, the body of the missing woman was recovered," a local from Ayechantharyar told Mizzima.

"The two bodies have now been taken to Kawthaung hospital by hearse courtesy of the Kawthaung free funeral service," added a resident of Kawthaung in southern Burma.

At the time of the accident the boat, with a maximum capacity of 18, was overloaded, while the tarpaulin was employed to conceal the vessel’s illegal human cargo.

The boatman has since been on the run, with all other survivors, including the trafficking agent, detained at Ayechanthar police station.

When contacted by Mizzima, the police officer on duty at the station could not provide any further information. However, it is learnt one of the detainees, a mother, died at 7 p.m. yesterday.

"Her heart stopped beating on the way to the clinic. She was pronounced dead when she reached the clinic. Her husband is also being detained at the police station,” said the Ayechanthar villager. “The mother of the girl who died in the accident is also being detained at the same police station."

(Edited by Ye Yint Aung)

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