Vietnam man arrested for car accident that drowned 5, including 2 kids

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Police have arrested a man for illegally driving across a closed spillway in an incident that led the car to be swept downriver by water rushing over the spillway. Five people drowned in the accident.

Truong Van Thai, 59, a traffic inspector in the north-central province of Nghe An where the incident occurred, will be investigated for "violating regulations on controlling road vehicles." Police can detain him for four months after the arrest before charging him.

The accident occurred in the evening of September 19  in Nghia Dan District as Thai drove six passengers in his seven-seat Innova from Nghia Dan to nearby Hoa Binh Province.

The car was swept away by floodwater as it crossed the Ang spillway in Nghia Hong Commune.

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Thai and Tran Van Ngo, 59, who sat next to him, escaped through the car's windows and swam to the shore.

But Ngo's wife, Nguyen Thi Nham, 59, their daughter Tran Thi Nga, 37, and grandchildren Vo Thi Linh, 11, and Vo Ba Hai, 9, and Phan Thi Duong, 44, a relative of Nham's, went missing.

Ngo said last Friday that people had warned them against crossing the closed spillway, but Thai dodged the barricade to enter the spillway, over which large amounts of water from a nearby damn were rushing violently.

When the car had nearly reached the other shore, it was caught by the passing water.

Rescuers found the bodies of Duong, Nham, Nga, and Linh inside the car at a site 500 meters away from the incident scene on Sunday morning.

Colonel Phan Tuan Phuong, head of Nghia Dan District Police Department, said locals in Anh Son District found the corpse of Vo Ba Hai, 9, at a section of Lam River in the district, which is 100 kilometers away from the incident scene, at around 1 p.m. Monday.

Nghe An was hit hard by a tropical storm that brought heavy rains, strong winds and floods to central Vietnam last week.

According to a report by Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control Tuesday, as of 5 p.m. Monday, the storm's death toll had climbed to 24.

Among dead were people in Dak Lak, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Tri provinces and Da Nang City.

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