At least eighteen drowned, several missing as boat sinks in Chao Phraya river

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At least eighteen people drowned and about twelve people went missing after a double-deck boat carrying about 100 passengers from Nonthaburi to Ayutthaya for an annual Islamic religious ceremony collided with a dike in the Chao Phraya river near Wat Sanamchai in Ayutthaya province Sunday afternoon.

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Reports said that there were altogether four boats in a procession from Talad Kwan in Nonthaburi province to Takai masjid in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district for the ceremony.

The boats were on their way back to Nonthaburi when the leading boat struck a dike in front of Wat Sanamchai and slowly went down in vertical position.

The ill-fated boat was carrying about 100 passengers.

Rescue boats and fire-fighting vessels were rushed to the scene to pluck passengers from the sinking boat and from the river. The fate of the missing passengers remained unknown at press time as rescue workers scoured the river in search of bodies and survivors.