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June 6, 2016

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Child dies, 14 missing after boat capsizes

ALL tour boats and ships in the city of Guangyuan in southwest China’s Sichuan Province have been ordered to suspend operations for a thorough safety inspection after a leisure boat capsized on a lake on Saturday, local officials said yesterday.

One child died and 14 people are missing after the boat, carrying a total of 18 people, capsized on Bailong Lake due to strong gales.

Three survivors remain under observation at a local hospital.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, a search is underway for six tourists swept away by a flash flood when they were “river tracing” in New Taipei City, according to the local fire department.

In Guangyuan, as of yesterday morning, a 320-member rescue team, including divers, had been sent to the scene and the search for the missing is continuing.

The 40-seat “Shuanglong” is owned by a local company, according to the Lizhou District maritime department, where the accident occurred.

Around noon yesterday, Blue Sky Rescue, a civilian group made up of outdoors experts, found the capsized boat thanks to a locating device and underwater cameras. However, they could detect no signs of life.

Li Xiang, a member of the Blue Sky team, told reporters that the boat had sunk to a depth of 65.1 meters. Underwater robots will be sent to assist salvage operations today.

The State Administration of Work Safety has demanded an investigation into the incident.

It also called on local authorities in Sichuan to launch water transport safety inspections, improve the management of sightseeing boats, remove possible dangers and prevent major accidents in the future.

The tourists swept away in Taiwan, four adults and two teenagers, were all wearing life jackets and helmets during the river tracing activity, also known as canyoning, on a river in the city’s Pinglin District.

They were part of a group of 24 people taking part in the activity. The other 18 members of the group are safe, Taiwan officials said.

Pinglin District experienced heavy rainfall at midday yesterday, with more than 10 centimeters falling in an hour.

Ambulances, rescue vehicles and a helicopter are at the scene and the search continues.

River tracing, or canyoning, is an increasingly popular outdoor activity that involves walking, wading, climbing and trekking through rivers.


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