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Seventeen people drowned when a boat capsized in Arakan state’s Kyaukphyu township on 27 December, according to official sources.
Villagers from Sinboat village-tract were on their way back from collecting wood in a mangrove forest when their overloaded boat tipped over and capsized in a creek about two miles from Kyungyi village on Friday afternoon, said Kyaukphyu Township Police Station’s deputy-superintendent Aung Aung.
The boat was carrying 49 people, nine male and 40 female, most of whom were from Kyungyi village. All those who drowned were women.
“Most of the passengers on the boat were residents of Kyungyi – they rented a boat altogether and went to collect wood in the mangrove forest before heading back around 4pm. They loaded all the wood in the centre and head of the boat and most of the passengers sat at the back,” said the official.
“As there was too much weight in the front side of the boat, it tipped over and capsized near a jetty about two miles from Kyungyi village – 17 women drowned in the incident.”
A report in the state-run Kyemon (The Mirror) daily newspaper said the wreckage of the boat was recovered the following morning, with the bodies of the victims still in the deck.
A man named Ba Shwe, the boat’s skipper, has been charged by police for reckless navigating and criminal negligence.