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Vietnam ferry accident 'kills 40'

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The search for survivors after the accident

A crowded ferry has sunk on a river in central Vietnam, killing at least 40 people, officials have said.

The vessel sank in strong currents about 20m (65ft) from the bank of the Gianh river in central Quang Binh province, south of the city of Vinh.

So far, 35 people have been rescued and at least five people are still missing.

Quang Binh police chief Phan Thanh Ha told the Associated Press the ferry had been loaded with 80 passengers, even though it had a capacity of only 12.

Map

One of the survivors, Cao Thi Huong, told the VnExpress website that the accident happened when passengers stood up in a rush to get off the boat as it approached a pier at about 0800 (0100 GMT).

Officials said many of those who drowned were women and children.

They had been crossing the river from the village of Quang Hai to go shopping ahead of the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The boat's captain and owner have been detained for questioning.

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