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Chindwin rescue efforts stalled as river swells

A crane has been dispatched to try to locate the wreck of the sunken ferry boat on the Chindwin River, 16 October 2016. (PHOTO: DVB)

A swell of current has stalled rescue efforts in the hunt for passengers from a ferry boat that capsized on the Chindwin River in Sagaing Division.

The boat, Aung Soe Moe Kyat, was carrying more than 300 people when she was spun by a whirlpool and capsized on Saturday as the river passed Kani Township en route from Homalin to Monywa.

Officials say 158 passengers were rescued from the river, but dozens more remain missing and must now be presumed drowned.

Tun Tun Win, a Kani MP in the Sagaing regional parliament, said the authorities had dispatched a boat fitted with a large crane to find the wreck and help in the search for missing passengers, but the recovery effort had stalled as the river swelled on Sunday.

“The current at the spot where the incident took place is now very strong and the water is quite deep – the situation was made worse when the river swelled about three feet [on Sunday],” said Tun Tun Win.

“We may need professional divers to get involved.”

On Sunday morning, the bodies of five females – assumed to be passengers from the ferry – washed up on the shore in Kani.