Tourist boat capsizes in Vietnam; at least 20 people missing

May 23 2011 - 10:48am

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Police rescue team leader Senior Lt. Col. Dang Tien Dung speaks to the media about the discovery of 15 bodies in Saigon River where a tourism boat sank, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)
Rescue workers take a break after they retrieved 15 bodies in Saigon River where a tourism boat sank, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)
Rescue workers search for passengers from a tourism boat which sank in Saigon River, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)
Police rescue team leader Senior Lt. Col. Dang Tien Dung speaks to the media about the discovery of 15 bodies in Saigon River where a tourism boat sank, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)
Rescue workers take a break after they retrieved 15 bodies in Saigon River where a tourism boat sank, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)
Rescue workers search for passengers from a tourism boat which sank in Saigon River, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Saturday, May 21, 2011. A little boy's birthday party went tragically wrong Friday when the double-decker tour boat capsized during a storm, killing 15 people, including the 3-year-old being honored and four other children, officials said Saturday. (AP Photo)

HANOI, Vietnam -- At least 20 people were feared dead Friday after a tourist boat capsized amid heavy rain and strong winds in the Sai Gon River, in southern Vietnam, officials said.

The two-deck boat was carrying about 50 people for a birthday party when it sank. Many of the passengers managed to swim to the shore, but at least 20 were reported missing as a rescue operation got under way.

Witnesses said the boat sunk just five minutes after it weighed anchor, 100 meters from the shore, possibly due to the bad weather.

The boat belongs to the Din Ky Cau Ngang eco tourist park in Binh Duong province, a popular tourist resort about 14 miles from Ho Chi Minh City.

(c) 2011, Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany).

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

 

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