2 arrested after deadly boat accident in south Vietnam

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 The floating part of a high-speed boat which was capsized off Ho Chi Minh City's coast on August 2 / FILE PHOTO

Ho Chi Minh City police have arrested two people for suspected involvement in a boat accident that killed nine people off the city's coast in August.

Vu Van Dao, 45, director of Viet Czech Technology J.S., and Dinh Van Quyet, 33, director of Vung Tau Marina Company, will be investigated on charges of putting into use means of unsafe river transportation, police announced Thursday.

According to their initial findings, on August 2, Quyet hired three high-speed boats from Dao and sent them to the Mekong Delta Province of Tien Giang to carry some 66 employees of PetroVietnam Steel Pipe Joint Stock Company (PV PIPE) to the southern coastal resort town of Vung Tau.

On their way, around 10 kilometers off the city's Can Gio District's coast, one of the boats capsized and nine people drowned. 

The Ministry of Transport's investigators later concluded that when the accident happened the boat was carrying 30 people, while its designed capacity was 12.

The boat was originally designed for coast guard patrols in closed bays and rivers, and belonged to a coast guard agency in the southern province of Ba Ria Vung Tau which contracted Viet-Czech to repair the vessel.

It was not licensed for transporting passengers, let alone travelling a 60-kilometer plus distance passing the sea with big waves and winds, according to the investigators.

They also said the helmsman, who was among the victims, did not have the license to operate high-speed boats, and his "unsuitable" driving, together with big waves and winds, overturned the boat.

Previously both Dao and Quyet denied their involvement in the boat rentals, claiming that their subordinates were responsible.

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Police are also investigating if some involved people tried to cover up the accident when it happened, according to VnExpress online newspaper.

Survivors said the accident happened at around 7 p.m., but rescue agencies were not informed of it until 9 p.m. When rescue boats arrived at the site, they managed to save 21 passengers.

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