Hanoi, Feb 17 (DPA): Twelve people drowned when a tourist boat sank Thursday in Vietnam, officials said. Fifteen others have been rescued.
The accident occurred at 5 a.m. (2200 GMT Wednesday) at Ha Long Bay when a tourist boat carrying 27 people sank, said Vu Van Thin, an official of the Quang Ninh provincial government.
The passengers consisted of 19 foreign tourists, two Vietnamese tourists, one guide and five crew members, Thin said.
Earlier reports said the boat was carrying 22 people, including 21 foreign tourists.
Authorities said 10 of the dead were foreigners, from Denmark, the United States, Britain, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and Australia.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, tourists from Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden were among the survivors.
The tourists had booked their two-day tour with Truong Hai company through an agent in Hanoi. Authorities declined to release the victims’ names as the case was still under investigation.
Thin said a preliminary investigation showed that the bottom of the boat suddenly broke.
Ngo Van Hung, head of the management board of Ha Long Bay said most of the tourists drowned while they were sleeping inside the boat, others escaped death because they were staying on deck.
The weather had been calm and the visitors were staying overnight on the boat in Ha Long Bay, a popular tourist spot about 170 km from Hanoi.