Bus pulled from Vietnam river, 14 bodies found

The bus was swept off the road by floods in central Vietnam.

Updated: Oct 21, 2010, 15:43 PM IST

Nghi Xuan: Rescuers pulled nine bodies, including those of three children, from a bus winched off a river bottom and dragged to shore on Thursday, three days after the vehicle was swept off the road by floods in central Vietnam.

The remains of five additional passengers, including two brothers, were found floating elsewhere in the Lam River, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 14. Six other people were still missing but presumed dead, as crews used cranes to tug the bus to the riverbank, said Nguyen Nhat, deputy governor of Ha Tinh province. Eighteen other people managed to escape to safety.

Divers located the bus on Wednesday just downstream from where it disappeared, but officials said it was stuck in sand and mud about 40 feet (12 meters) down on the river bottom, and they didn`t pull it up until Thursday. Thousands of onlookers watched the work from a nearby vantage point, while family members stood by somberly.

Some burned incense and prayed at an altar with fruit and flowers set up beside the riverbank. Others, like Nguyen Van Vu, 28, sat quietly on the ground, staring into the water. He lost his wife and seven-month-old baby, and broke down in tears after seeing their bodies among those recovered from the bus.

"We were only married a year ago," he said, softly. "She was going with our daughter to Nam Dinh province for her younger sister`s wedding."

The bus, travelling from the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong to northern Nam Dinh province, was caught in murky, fast-moving water early Monday after the driver ignored police warnings and attempted to plough through the flooded area on the country`s main north-south highway.

The vehicle`s engine stalled and it was knocked off balance before being pulled under by the current.

Some passengers managed to break a window, but survivors said many people remained trapped inside when the bus began to sink and disappear.

In the past week, parts of central Vietnam have suffered the worst flooding in more than 30 years. At least 45 other people have died.

Bureau Report