June 25 (UPI) — At least one person is dead after a boat carrying 27 passengers sank in China’s Yunnan Province.
The boat, which became submerged at the junction of the Lancang and Nanban Rivers in the province’s Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, was a Myanmarese vessel, China Central Television and Global Times reported.
The Lancang is the local name for the Mekong River.
The accident occurred early Thursday and local authorities responded with the dispatch of 16 rescue ships, including 394 police officers and firefighters, state media said.
Yunnan authorities also sent drones to conduct a full-scale search of the river to locate missing passengers, reports say.
By late Thursday, local time, 17 people had been rescued, one person was found dead and another nine remained missing.
Jiemian News, an online Chinese news service, reported all the passengers were Chinese nationals. According to the report, the Myanmarese ship entered Chinese waters illegally and was involved in smuggling operations. The report did not include details of the alleged smuggling. Local police are launching an investigation, Pengpai News reported.
China has been supporting major industrial projects in Myanmar. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the two countries agreed to build economic cooperation zones and a $9 billion railway, according to Singapore-based ASEAN Today.
The projects are also raising concern about pollution at the border.
According to the Shan Herald, the Shweli River changed color in June, drawing complaints from residents in Myanmar.