Swedes die in Vietnam boating accident

Two Swedes were among the dead after a tour boat broke in half and sank in Vietnam's Halong Bay on Thursday, the Swedish government has confirmed.

Swedes die in Vietnam boating accident

“Two Swedish young women are dead,” Anders Jörle, a spokesman for Sweden’s

foreign ministry, told AFP by telephone from Stockholm.

He said they were in their early 20s. The women were in Vietnam as part of a tourist trip and are reported to be from central Sweden.

Their next of kin were on Thursday informed of their deaths.

The Swedes were among 12 people, most of them foreign tourists, who died when their boat suddenly sank while they slept in the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its striking limestone towers.

The other dead tourists are reported to be from Denmark, the UK, the US, France and Russia.

Vu Van Thin, a senior official with the Quang Ninh province People’s Committee, the local government, said the accident happened when “part of the boat suddenly broke”, but bad weather was not to blame.

According to local media the boat was crossing the bay when it experienced engine trouble and sank.

The police are involved in the incident and are working to ascertain the cause.

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Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.