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Three die in Rhine River inflatable boat accident

May 30, 2019

At least three people, including a young girl, have died after an inflatable boat accident on the Rhine River near Strasbourg. Rescue services searched for a missing young girl throughout the afternoon.

Gerstheim Rhein Bootsunfall
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

A small inflatable boat with two adults and two children on board capsized at about midday on Friday, killing at least three. 

The victims were members of a group of German and Romanian tourists from municipalities around nearby Offenburg spending a day on the Rhine River on Thursday. 

The fatalities were a man in his mid-20s, a 6-year-old girl and a 22-year-old who was part of a larger group that tried to rescue the four passengers on the boat, according to the Bas-Rhin prefecture in France. 

The 6-year-old girl was taken to hospital in Freiburg where she later died.

A 4-year-old girl who went missing when the boat sank had still not been found five hours later. The second adult passenger was found later and taken to hospital where he was said to be recovering. 

"Three adults, including a witness who tried to save the occupants of the boat, and a girl aged six years died," the Bas-Rhin prefecture in France said in a statement.  

The Rhine River at Kaub, Germany
The Rhine River at Kaub, GermanyImage: Getty Images/M. Hitij

Three witnesses on the river bank went into the river to try and help. They also sounded the alarm and a search including helicopters and aircraft was launched on both the French and German sides of the river. Two of the witnesses managed to get back on shore unharmed but the third was found unconscious.

Authorities said the boat sank near the French town of Gerstheim, south of Strasbourg.  

Teams of French and German divers, firefighters and police as well as helicopters searched both sides of the river throughout Thursday afternoon. 

jm/sms (dpa, AFP)

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