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Boat capsize in Thailand leaves 13 pilgrims dead

Video footage posted by Khaosod TV showed desperate scenes as rescue workers scrambled to reach the stricken vessel, its stern partially under water. In photo: Thai commuters get on a boat in a canal on September 1, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Bangkok, Thailand Sep 18, 2016, 02.23 PM (IST)

At least 13 people were killed on Sunday after a boat carrying about hundred passengers capsized after hitting a bridge near the Thai city of Ayutthaya, an emergency response official said.

"There are 13 confirmed dead and 33 injured so far," said Udomsak Khaonoona, disaster prevention chief for the city which is 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Bangkok.

"The boat tried to avoid another vessel and crashed into the concrete column of a bridge," he told AFP, adding that the passengers were local.

The boat was taking passengers from Nonthaburi to an annual Islamic religious rite at a mosque in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, the Bangkok Post reported. The dead include six men, six women and a child.

The boat was travelling the Chao Phraya river at 4 pm (local time) when the accident occured. No foreign passengers are believed to be among the dead. 

Video footage posted by Khaosod TV showed rescue workers scrambling to reach the stricken vessel, its stern partially under water. Rescuers threw ropes to help people swim to land as others gave CPR to unconscious victims on the banks of the river. 

Road and boat accidents are common in Thailand due to poor enforcement of safety regulations, AFP said.

The Chao Phraya, the main river that flows through Bangkok, is a busy waterway.

(WION with inputs from agencies)


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