More than 40 die in capsizing

Chris Yeung

MORE than 40 people are feared dead after an overloaded passenger boat capsized in choppy seas off Zhanjiang, Guangdong.

Official reports said yesterday only 26 people were rescued from the privately-run pleasure boat which is understood to have been carrying more than 70 passengers. The others are believed to have drowned.

The boat was licensed to carry 30 passengers, according to the semi-official Hongkong China News Agency.

It said the passengers were heading for an island to attend a traditional festival, when they were swamped by large waves 10 kilometres out of the harbour.

A fishing boat and life-saving vessels which reached the scene shortly after the accident on Tuesday found many of the dead huddled in the tiny cabin, it said.

The report claimed the captain was inexperienced and life-saving equipment was inadequate.

The accident is under investigation.