Dragon boat accident kills 17 in southern China

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BEIJING, April 22, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Seventeen people were killed Saturday after two dragon boats capsized in southern China, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Rowers on board the two long, narrow kayak-like boats were practising for a race in Taohua River in the city of Guilin when the accident occurred Saturday afternoon, tipping some 60 people into the water.

Around 40 people were pulled out of the water alive with rescue work ending around 10pm (1400 GMT), Xinhua said.

An earlier report from the state news agency said eleven people had died.

There were no details on whether people were still missing in the latest report.

Authorities in Guilin said villagers had organised a practice session without notifying police, and that two organisers were detained.

Races are held nationwide every year to mark the dragon boat festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or the summer solstice.

The festival pays tribute to the ancient poet Qu Yuan who, legend has it, drowned himself in protest against being falsely accused of treason.

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