NAYPIDAW, Myanmar – At least 34 people are dead after a ferry capsized off the Southeast Asia nation of Myanmar, the country’s state-run daily said Saturday, citing a police source.
The state-owned passenger ferry Aung Ta Gon-3 had 214 passengers and crew on board, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Information said in a statement that the ship capsized Friday night as it sailed, in bad weather conditions, around the city of Sittwe. A large wave crashed into the ferry, causing it capsize near Myaybone and Myaukkyine islands.
The newspaper reported that 31 women and three men died. Authorities have managed to rescue at least 167 people, according to the information ministry for Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
Pictures from the government showed rescue workers helping people off a boat onto the land.
Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine state and sits on the Bay of Bengal, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from the Bangladesh border. This weekend’s weather forecast for the city calls for some clouds giving way to clear skies, with high daytime temperatures expected to be in the 30s Celsius (80s to 90s Fahrenheit).
Fatal ferry disasters are nothing new to the region.
Last month, at least 68 people died when a packed double-decker ferry sank while on the Padma River north of neighboring Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, officials said. A cargo vessel hit the ferry, causing it to overturn and trapping passengers on its lower deck.
Forty-five people died in an accident on the same river in August.
In May 2013, several boats carrying as many as 150 people were thought to have capsized near Myanmar’s western coast ahead of a storm approaching the area.
Those boats were carrying Rohingya, members of Myanmar’s long-suffering Muslim minority, Thailand-based U.N. official Kirsten Mildren said at the time. – CNN