Wedding guests dead as boat sink in southwestern Myanmar

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Some 20 people died and about a dozen were missing on Friday after a wooden boat carrying about 60 wedding guests hit a cargo ship and sank in southwestern Myanmar, local officials said.

This is the third big marine accident in the country in many years.

The boat was unlit and hit a cargo ship on the river in the city of Pathein at about 7:20 p.m. (1250 GMT), they said.

Twenty bodies have been found and 27 people have been rescued, Kyaw Myint, a local government official, said from a hospital in Pathein.

Rescuers were still looking for survivors, a witnesses said.

“The authorities at the port are looking into the cause of the crash,” Kyaw Myint said.

The regional government will help arrange funerals, he said.

“It’s a huge tragedy because there were a lot of women and children on the boat,” Khin Zaw Lin, a parliamentarian for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said.

Marine accidents are common in Myanmar, where many people rely for transport on crowded and dilapidated boats. Seventy-three people died in a ferry accident in October last year, and 64 in an accident in March 2015.

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