17 killed after 2 dragon boats capsize during training in southern China

Teams were practising for a race on the Taohua River in Guilin

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 2:55pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 April, 2018, 6:00pm

Seventeen people were killed after two dragon boats capsized in southern China, authorities said on Sunday.

The boats were practising on Saturday for a race on the Taohua River in the city of Guilin when the accident happened, the fire department in the Guangxi capital said.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the boats to capsize.

The fire department said on its official Weibo social media account that search efforts had ended late on Saturday and 17 people had been confirmed dead. 

A total of 60 people fell into the water.

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The official Xinhua news agency said eight boats and more than 200 people had been deployed to the rescue.

Two organisers of the training session, from the village of Dunmu, were detained, Xinhua said.

China has sought to step up safety surrounding nationwide dragon boat racing during the annual festival, which falls near the summer solstice – this year it is on June 18 – and commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan in the third century BC.