Five women and a man drowned when a boat carrying 13 people capsized off the shore of Thai Binh Province, northern Vietnam, on Tuesday morning.
Tran The Long, an official from Tien Hai District’s Party unit, told Tuoi Tre newspaper on the phone that the accident happened at about 5 a.m. when the boat was 700 meters from Giang Long pier in Nam Thinh Commune.
Long said the 13 people onboard were coming back from a night catching clams at a farm offshore.
Dinh Van Si, the 24-year-old helmsman and the only man on the boat, was among the dead victims.
A survivor, Nguyen Thi Ngot, told Thanh Nien that Si had managed to save two women before he became exhausted and was washed away.
Ngot, 51, said the women had been hired by the owner of the clam farm to work during low tide between Monday evening and 2 a.m. Tuesday.
She said she was sitting in the boat when suddenly water overflowed into it.
"Everyone was wearing lots of coats as well as raincoat, therefore [most of us] couldn't swim," Ngoc said.
"We were so frightened we could only cry."
She said she didn't know what caused the boat to sink. "There was neither strong wind nor strong wave," she said.
Local official Tran Manh Dung said the boat is a small one with a capacity of 3.5 tons. The accident happened just some 60 meters away from the clam farm, he said.
The bodies of the ill-fated people and the boat were salvaged on the same day. They have been identified as Truong Thi Huyen, 51, another Truong Thi Huyen, 25, Pham Thi Nga, 44, Dinh Thi Mien, 22, and Truong Thi May, 33.
They rented the boat from Truong Van Dinh, 54.
Thai Binh authorities are investigating the accident further.
They are also discussing measures to prevent a similar tragedy from happening, given that clam farms are a major source of income of many families in Tien Hai.