Two British tourists have drowned in a horror boating accident in Vietnam after their vessel, packed with foreign holidaymakers, overturned in wild seas.
A French man and two Vietnamese are also among the dead, while many other passengers have been treated in hospital for shock and hypothermia.
British Embassy officials have traveled to the picturesque Halong Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin some 100 miles east of the capital, Hanoi, to help officials confirm the identify the two UK travellers.
‘It was been difficult to identify them because they were not carrying papers on them, but we have since established they are from the UK,’ said local immigration police officer Pham Van Truong.
The boat sank in strong winds and choppy waters as it was returning to port last Thursday evening. Twenty-five tourists and seven crew members were on board.
It is understood the vessel capsized in the strong winds and then went down as it was smashed about by the heavy seas.
To add to the difficulties of those thrown into the water, the area was being pummeled by heavy rains.
Speaking from his hospital bed, a French tourist who survived the tragedy said there were at least 30 people on board.
He said the tourists, as well as the Britons, included visitors from South African, America, Australia and Japan.
There were a number of other boats in the area and these made their way quickly to the scene to help.
But the Britons, the French man and the Vietnamese, who have since been confirmed as dead, could not be located in time to save them and they all drowned.
Halong Bay has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vietnam is a popular tourist destination for westerners, including many travellers from the UK.
Last year more than two and a half million tourists, more than half of them foreigners, visited Halong Bay.
The area, which has 1,600 islands and islets has spectacular scenery, including limestone pillars that were made famous by the 1992 French movie ‘Indochine’.