Three people arrested after boat party tragedy in Vietnam

Sixteen people drowned in Vietnam after their boat sank during a birthday party.


The victims were celebrating a child’s birthday when the boat sank due to strong winds and heavy rain. Hundreds of police officers and soldiers were mobilised to search for victims on Saturday.


Searchers recovered 15 bodies and were working to free a child’s body from the wreckage of the vessel, according to reports by the AFP.


Three people have been arrested including the captain, Le Van Duc, who failed to show the necessary documents showing he was qualified to pilot the vessel, according to the Thanh Nien Daily. Le Van Quang, manager of the boat, and Dinh Van Quan, manager of floating restaurants in the tourism area, were also taken into custody.


There were 28 people were on board the double-decker, restaurant-style boat when it capsized on Friday evening and sank just 90 metres from the bank on the Saigon River in southern Binh Duong province near Ho Chi Minh City.


12 of the party managed to swim to safety, including the Vietnamese businessman throwing the party, whose wife, three-year-old son and six-year-old daughter drowned.


An investigator told Thanh Nien that the boat was structurally unbalanced putting it at risk of capsizing in strong winds.


One survivor said the boat flooded with water so fast he couldn’t reach his wife and son on the other side of the deck.


The windows were closed to keep out the rain, which officials say may have hindered passengers’ escape from the sinking vessel.