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Rescuers hunt for survivors after dozens die in Myanmar ferry disaster

Dozens have died with several others gone missing after an overloaded ferry sank off Myanmar's western coast. Rescuers are looking for possible survivors.

The "Aung Takon 3" sank late Friday off Myanmar's western coast, killing at least 21 people, including two men and 19 women, police said.

"A total of 167 passengers were rescued and 21 bodies were recovered by the navy ship, but 26 people were still missing," state government spokesman Win Myaing said.

The ferry was swamped by waves shortly after leaving Taunggok en route to Sittwe, Win said. "We heard there was heavy rain and wind after it had left Taunggok," he added.

Local member of parliament Maung Lone said there were many dead bodies which hadn't been found yet. According to his estimates, there were 300 people on board.

Locals living in the area where the Aung Takon capsized said the waters there were treacherous and that many fishing boats had sunk in the region.

Those who live along the country's coastline often use poorly maintained ferries for transportation. In 2010, a ferry disaster killed 10 people while an earlier tragedy in 2008 left nearly 40 dead.

mg/ng (AFP, dpa)

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