Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vietnam boat sinking: Human error blamed, two arrested

BBC Website 20 February 2011

Human error was to blame for the sinking of a tourist boat in Vietnam which killed 12 people, including one Briton, Vietnamese police have said.

Quang Ninh police spokesman Le Thanh Binh said a valve that allowed water to come into the boat to cool the engine had been left open overnight.

Stuart McCormick, 30, from Irvine, Ayrshire, died with 11 holidaymakers and a Vietnamese guide in Halong Bay.

The vessel's captain and a crew member have been arrested.

The wooden boat was touring the Unesco World Heritage Site in Quang Ninh province when it went down.

Speaking to Associated Press news agency, Mr Binh said: "The initial police investigation showed that the man in charge of the boat engine forgot to close the valve that allowed water in to cool the engine before he, the captain and other crew went to bed."

The engine was turned off, preventing a pump from running to push the water out.

By the time the captain and crew woke to find the boat filled with water, it was too late and the vessel sank quickly, he said.

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