Muslim pilgrim boat capsizes in Thailand, at least 15 dead

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand, Sept. 18 (UPI) — At least 15 people are dead after a pilgrim boat carrying a mostly Muslim crowd hit a bridge and capsized Sunday in the Thai city of Ayutthaya.

Another 46 people have been injured in the incident, eight remain in critical condition. Crews are searching for 10 people still missing, Ayutthaya government spokesperson Prayoon Rattanasenee said early Monday.

Authorities said six women, six men, and a young boy are known victims. Details on the others are not known. All of the passengers were Thai Muslims.

The double-deck boat was traveling along the Chao Phraya River about 4 p.m. with 150 people on board when the crash occurred near the Wat Sanam Chai temple, a popular tourist destination. Passengers were traveling back to Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok, after attending an Islamic event, the Bangkok Post reported.

Sornsak Sansombat, director-general of the Marine Department, said the river’s current was strong at the time of the crash. He said police have detained the ferry’s captain to question him.

Both car and boat accidents are common in Thailand due to safety standards that are far less strict than those in many international locations.

The Chao Phraya –river the boat was traveling — is a busy commuter waterway and is often packed with boats.

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