Nine die in Irrawaddy boat collision

Nov 17, 2009 (DVB), Nine people have died and nearly 15 remain missing after a passenger ferry collided with an oil barge in Burma's southern Irrawaddy delta on Sunday, eye-witnesses said.

The ferry, called the 'Nay Myo Htun', sank after hitting the oil barge docked on the Ngawun river. Around 150 passengers are thought to have been on board.

A resident of the Irrawaddy district capital, Bassein, said nine people were confirmed killed in the incident, while 129 are thought to have survived. The rest remained missing.

"There were a lot of whirlpools where the ferry sank and the current is fairly strong," said the resident. "Most of those who died were women."

He said an emergency aid centre has been set up by the local Myanmar Red Cross Society (not affiliated with International Committee of the Red Cross) at Bassein town hall, and some survivors had already been sent home.

Rescue workers are reportedly still searching for any remaining survivors. Passenger boats in Burma are often overcrowded, and accidents common.

A doctor on duty at Bassein hospital said that the hospital had not received any patients from the incident. "No one has arrived here as of now," he said.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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