Captain in fatal ferry sinking jailed for one year in central Vietnam

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A court in the central province of Quang Nam Wednesday sentenced the captain of a boat to one year in jail for sailing an overloaded ferry that sank and killed a pregnant passenger last November.

Bui Van Thu, 40, was the captain and owner of the ferry that was carrying 40 people, 17 motorbikes, five bicycles and a 3.5 ton car. The ferry was not licensed to carry four-wheel vehicles and locals said Thu had already been fined three times for carrying trucks.

Vu Thi Thien Tham, a 27-year-old passenger who was 11 weeks pregnant, drowned after the ferry sank about 150 meters from the river bank.

The indictment said that when water began flowing into the overloaded ferry around 20 meters from the shore, all Thu did was rearrange things.

The accident, which happened on the morning of November 21, also caused property damage of nearly VND82.5 million (US$3,960) including VND40 million belonging to the passengers.

Thu was asked to compensate the losses.

The court has suggested that district authorities rebuke Phan Nhu Thuong, chairman of Tam Hai Commune which managed the boat.

The captain and the commune administration had given the dead woman's family nearly VND26 million ($1,248).

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