Floating restaurant sinks on Saigon River, 15 missing

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A tourist boat carrying more than 20 passengers sank into the Saigon River Friday evening, leaving 15 people missing.

The Chinese Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday morning confirmed that four Chinese citizens, including three men and a woman, were among the missing.

As of 1.30 p.m Saturday, divers have recovered seven bodies of two children, three women and two men from the ships, which lies on the riverbed, about 25 meters deep, according to the VnExpress news website.

The two-storied boat, designed as a floating restaurant operating in the Din Ky Tourism Area, was on the way back to Binh Duong Province from the neighboring Ho Chi Minh City at 7 p.m. Friday when it capsized in heavy rain and strong winds.

About five passengers were rescued when the boat sank; the remaining people, including five children and six women, are presumed drowned.

The boat captain, Le Van Duc, who managed to swim onshore, has been detained by the police for investigation.

Hoang Van Dong, a 24-year-old survivor, said he and 20 friends were attending a birthday party on the boat when the accident happened.

Dong said he hung on to a canvas that dropped from the boat and swam onshore.

Hundreds of rescuers from Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City are searching for the missing victims.

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