Australian among victims in Vietnam tour boat sinking

Updated: 2011-02-18 09:27


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CANBERRA - A 32-year-old Australian was among the 12 people killed in a wooden tour boat sinking in Vietnam's Ha Long Bay on Thursday morning.

According to Australia Associated Press' report on Friday, the Vietnamese authorities said Lam Ngoc Chau was a Vietnamese-born Australian in his early 30s.

A surviving Australian, also of Vietnamese origin, named Nguyen Duy Khuong, is receiving consular assistance.

However, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is yet to release the victim and survivor's name.

Vietnamese officials advised that of the 26 passengers on board, 14 had been rescued and 12 had died, mostly tourists from nine countries.

The cause of the accident is yet to be determined.

It is not the first time that disaster has struck at the popular tourist attraction. In September 2009 three foreign tourists, two from Britain and one from France, died along with their local guide when their vessel overturned during heavy rain on the bay.

A tour guide told Australia's media that tour boats on Vietnam' s Ha Long Bay look "tired" and are overcrowded.

"All the boats out there look very tired," Tracey Johnson, a travel guide for Australian company Intrepid Travel, who has spent six years taking tourists to Ha Long Bay told Australia Associated Press via phone on Friday.

"There are so many backpackers who want the cheapest trip and they're (the boats) very overcrowded."

Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's leading tourist attractions, drawing tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors each year, many of whom take overnight boat tours.

The bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin east of Hanoi, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.


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