Tourist safety in Vietnam's famed Halong Bay questioned
HANOI (AP) - By the time Michael Chai spotted the other boat bearing down on his craft, it was too late to shout a warning to the captain, and the vessels collided. Within a few seconds, he and 17 other Taiwanese tourists were plunged into Vietnam's Halong Bay, without life jackets.
Five people in the party of tourists drowned in Wednesday's accident, trapped under the hull of their capsized boat, raising fresh questions over safety standards in one of Vietnam's most visited attractions.
Each day, up to 10,000 tourists from around the world sail Halong Bay, a Unesco heritage site three hours east of the capital Hanoi.
For many, it is the highlight of their trip to this scenic South-east Asian country. But at least four deadly accidents over the last 10 years and many more alarming safety incidents recounted on travellers' blogs have led to allegations that tour companies are cutting corners.