The rough waters of the La River claimed three lives in the central province of Ha Tinh Friday evening as the boat in which they were traveling capsized and sank just 10 meters from the shore.
The boat, reportedly made of concrete, sank at around 6pm in the section of the river that runs through Duc Chau Commune in Duc Tho District.
Three women - Bui Thi Lan, 42, Tran Thi Huyen, 34, and Tran Thi Khuong, 46 - were swept away. Their bodies were found Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Two survivors in the accident, one woman and a man, said the five of them had crossed the river to harvest peanuts for a farmer, Nguyen Van Son, for which they would be paid VND100,000 (US$5.26) a person per day. They had finished a day's work and were on the way home.
"We were some 10 meters from the shore when there were strong waves, and water flowed into the boat. Everyone panicked and held on to each other. I could only thrash about with my arms for as long as I could and wait for help," said 57-year-old Tran Thi Dan.
Residents on the banks who rushed out in their boats on hearing cries for help were also able to save Khuong's husband, 42-year-old Tran Van Thanh.
Dao Xuan Yen, a commune official, said that section of the river was very dangerous and has sunk many boats. Four people were killed in a similar incident in 1994, Yen said.