Child dies, 14 missing after Sichuan boat capsizes in gale

BEIJING/TAIPEI • China's work safety watchdog yesterday demanded an investigation into the capsizing of a sightseeing boat in south-west Sichuan province.

A child died and 14 people remain missing after the boat capsized on Bailong Lake after strong gales on Saturday afternoon. Three passengers were rescued.

The operation of all tour boats and ships in Guangyuan city has been suspended for a thorough safety inspection. A 320-member rescue team had been dispatched to search for the missing passengers.

Rescuer Li Xiang said the boat had sunk to a depth of 65.1m. Underwater robots will be sent to assist the salvage today.

In another accident in Sichuan, two tourists were killed and 15 others injured by a falling tree on Saturday when sudden gales hit Jiuzhaigou Valley, a World Heritage site.

"We have never seen such harsh weather before," said Mr Yang Fuying, an administration official.

Chinese search- and-rescue workers using magnetic positioning devices and underwater cameras to search for survivors after the leisure boat Shuanglong capsized in Bailong Lake amid strong winds on Saturday.
Chinese search- and-rescue workers using magnetic positioning devices and underwater cameras to search for survivors after the leisure boat Shuanglong capsized in Bailong Lake amid strong winds on Saturday. PHOTO: XINHUA

HARSH WEATHER

We have never seen such harsh weather before.

MR YANG FUYING, an official with the administration.

With the start of the annual rainy season in China, many parts of the country are experiencing wetter- than-usual weather. The national observatory forecast that heavy rain will pound parts of south-west China in the next three days.

Regions in south-west China's Sichuan basin will experience downpour of up to 130mm within 24 hours. Heavy rain or rainstorm will also hit regions in Guangdong, Fujian, Hebei, Henan and Shandong provinces as well as Guangxi region over the next 24 hours.

In Taiwan, three tourists were killed after they were swept away by a flash flood while they were river-tracing, also known as canyoning, in Pinglin District. Search was under way yesterday for three others who were also swept away.

They were all wearing life jackets and helmets during the activity in which one would jump into a fast-flowing mountain stream and be carried downstream at high speed. They were part of a group of 24 people taking part in the activity. Eighteen others were safe.

In Thailand, a speedboat rammed into a freighter near eastern Koh Samet yesterday morning, injuring the 30 people on board, Inn News reported.

The boat was ferrying tourists away from the popular resort island after a concert.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Child dies, 14 missing after Sichuan boat capsizes in gale'. Print Edition | Subscribe