Driver detained for probe of fatal Ha Long boat accident

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Police in the northern province of Quang Ninh arrested Thursday the driver of a vessel involved in a boat accident on Ha Long Bay which left five Taiwanese tourists dead a day earlier.


Mac Van Duong, 36, is in police custody for further investigations into the cause of the accident.


On Wednesday Duong was driving a boat carrying 18 tourists back to their ship after a visit to Sung Sot Cave when his vessel collided with the tourist boat Dong Phong 2 at around 4:15 p.m.


The tourist boat sank, killing a 69-year-old man, thee women, and a nine-year-old girl.


The remaining 13 were rescued and safely brought to shore.


The five deceased were identified by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau as Chen Yi-chiu, 69, Lee Hui-chen, 36, Huang Feng-chin, 58, Huang Hsuan-chi, 9, and Kung Fang-ju, 34.


Their bodies were taken to a local hospital.


The boat driven by Duong had been ferrying the tourists back to a larger ship named Paradise, which carried 36 Taiwanese tourists on a tour of Ha Long bay. Duong was transporting 18 people at the time of the accident. 


The 36, all employees from a company in Kaohsiung and their families, came to Vietnam on October 2 with Taiwan-based Life Tour. They were scheduled to return home October 5, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.


The Dong Phong 2 had been carrying 47 Taiwanese tourists when the accident happened.  



5 Taiwanese tourists killed in Ha Long boat acciden

Trinh Quoc Hai, the driver of the Dong Phong 2, told police Duong had tried to pass his boat before the accident.


Duong, however, said Hai's boat had caused the accident.


According to police, at the time of the accident, the weather on Ha Long Bay was nice and a little sunny, and there were not many boats coming in and out of Sung Sot Cave.


They said the accident may have been caused by the drivers' negligence.


Passengers on Duong's boat were not wearing life jackets when the accident happened.

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