Twelve missing after Myanmar boat sinks in whirlpool: junta

In addition to the three crew members aboard, passengers reportedly included teachers and high school students from nearby villages as well as members of the security forces

Twelve people are missing after a boat foundered in a whirlpool on a river in northern Myanmar, the military council said on Wednesday.

The vessel was travelling as part of a group through Mingin Township in northern Sagaing Region when it sank around 10am on Tuesday, according to a public statement by the junta.

“Three company staff, six civilians and three members of the security forces are missing,” the statement said.

Local media said around 100 people were on board and BBC Burmese cited locals as saying 12 bodies had been found.

The vessel sank in a whirlpool near Mauk Ka Taw village, the junta said.

It said the sinking was being investigated, without giving further details.

Sagaing Region is a hotspot of resistance to the military’s 2021 coup, and junta authorities regularly cut internet access in the region, making information difficult to verify.

According to a statement by Student Revolutionary Force, an anti-junta resistance group based in Mingin Township, the people on board included teachers and high school students from nearby villages. 

A local resident of Mingin Township told Myanmar Now that they were from the villages that have become strongholds of the pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias.

Frequent interceptions by resistance groups in the area have forced the military and Pyu Saw Htee groups to use waterways to travel. 

“Most of the students were from [Pyu Saw Htee] villages near the town of Mingin who passed matriculation exams. There were about 100 of them… We still don’t know the exact number of casualties now,” the local source said.

A spokesperson for the Sagaing regional government did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2016, 73 people, including many teachers and students, drowned when their overloaded vessel capsized on the Chindwin River.

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