The death toll in the accident of a ferry that capsized off Myanmar’s northwestern coast over the weekend has increased to 59, local authorities said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press (AP). Officials conducting rescue operations in the area reportedly pulled 23 more bodies from the ship, which was carrying over 225 people.
The state’s double-decker ferry Aung Tagun 3 had left the coastal town of Kyaukphyu and capsized on Friday due to rough seas after traveling about 50 miles near Myebon in Rakhine. The number of survivors from the ship, which had drowned 90 feet into the water, increased to 169 from 167, AP reported on Tuesday, citing Myanma Ahlin newspaper. The ferry was traveling to Sittwe in western Rakhine state, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
"The bodies found are decayed. We are working together in search and rescue efforts with other officials from Kyaukphyu District Administration and the navy base there. I also took part in moving the bodies," Police Colonel Bo Bo Oo from the Rakhine state said, according to Eleven Myanmar, a local newspaper.
Ferry accidents due to overcrowded ships and bad weather in the region are common in the country, the AP reported.
In 2010, a ferry sank in the Irrawaddy delta region, killing 10 people, while in 2008 a ship sank in the Yway River, killing 38 people, according to AFP. The report added, citing local residents, that the region where the ferry sank was known for its treacherous waters.
"The tide there is very strong and the sea very rough. Fishing boats have often sunk in that area many times before," Thein Zaw, a resident of Sittwe town, said, according to AFP.