Last body found in southern Vietnam boat accident

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Rescuers in the southern province of Binh Duong on Monday found the body of a nine-year-old boy believed to be the last victim in a boat accident that killed 16 people, including four Chinese, on Friday.

 

Pham Xuan Khanh, who was one of the 21 passengers on the boat capsizing on the Saigon River in Din Ky Tourism Area, was found under mud in its machine chamber, VnExpress quoted rescuers as saying.

 

The double-decker boat, designed to be a floating restaurant, was recovered on Sunday after rescuers found 15 bodies including three children in its hull the day before.

 

All the passengers were attending the birthday party of a three-year-old boy when the accident happened. The boy, who was the son of a Chinese man and a Vietnamese wife, drowned together with his mother and sister.

 

Five passengers and six crew members managed to swim to safety.

 

Initial investigations showed that strong winds accompanying a heavy rain had capsized the boat, which was designed improperly with an imbalance in the parts that remain below and above the water.

 

Several experts have blamed the crew for closing all the windows on the fatal night, increasing the boat's risk of capsizing in strong winds.

 

According to the witnesses, the accident took place about 15 minutes after the boat left the port. It was then some 100 meters from the bank.

 

So far police have detained Le Van Duc, captain of the double-decker, Le Van Quang, manager of the boat, and Dinh Van Quan, manager of floating restaurants in the tourism area, for investigations.

 

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According to police, Duc's license showed that he was qualified to plot boats of second and third classes only, while the fatal boat was categorized as the first class. The boat's registration certificate was found expiring in February as well.

 

Worse still, Phan Van Duy, director of Area No. 3's Inland Waterway Port Authority, Sunday told Thanh Nien that the port managed by Din Ky Tourism Area was unlicensed.

 

The official said they didn't issue a license because the port's location had a whirlpool with the depth of over 20 meters.

 

"We had signs warning about the whirlpool around the dangerous area, but the company ignored them," he said.

 

Investigations into the case are ongoing.

 

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