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At least 33 dead in Chinese boat accident

The Associated Press

BEIJING (February 1, 2001 7:58 a.m. EST - Chinese authorities have confirmed at least 33 people are dead after an overloaded boat hit rocks in dense fog Monday.

There were 38 survivors and 13 still missing from Monday's accident in Hechuan city in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said. Police and residents were searching for the missing and trying to recover the dead, Xinhua said.

State media had first said the privately owned boat was carrying 51 passengers, about 20 more than it should have, and that 10 were killed when it hit rocks on its way to Hechuan's Taihe town, where it was market day.

But Thursday's report suggested the boat was even more overloaded.

Other causes of the accident were "sailing in dense fog and the inability of the captain in dealing with the situation properly," Xinhua said without giving details.

The report did not say on which river the boat sank. Several rivers meet near Hechuan and flow together into the Yangtze, China's longest river, at Chongqing.

-- Rachel Gibson (, February 01, 2001

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