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In what seems the latest and one of the most serious incidents happening to the hydrofoils ferrying passengers back and forth from Saigon (HCMC) to Vung Tau, a hydrofoil burst into flames today at 2pm local time this Monday 20th of January 2014.
Local media reports that all passengers had to jump into the river, luckily the accident happened in a part of the journey where the river is not too wide and other boat traffic not too dense. However, as many of us have been traveling to Vung Tau to take a break from Saigon, often with our children, a chill goes down our spines when thinking about this incident.
Photo credit: user Angela Schonberg from travelfish.com
It is impossible not to observe the run down state of practically all the hydrofoils that have been, on average in service for 20 years, after having been purchased second hand from Russia. A scary feeling also because we know that not many Vietnamese are good swimmers so we are all concerned about the health of the passengers on that hydrofoil.
It seems that there were many f foreigners on board at the time, not unusual because betwee, tourists, foreign residents in HCMC and workers for the petrol and oil drilling companies that operate from Vung Tau, you are always sure to bump into other foreigners when travelling this route by hydrofoil.
It seems rescue boats arrived some time later so it is a good guess to say that passengers had to fend for themselves in this emergency situation. Local news reporting the incident are in Vietnamese at this time so we don’t have full translations available right now.
To take one of these hydrofoils, you can embark on the pier in Ton Duc Thang Street, in District 1, just across the Majestic Hotel. Fares in 2014 are around 200.000 VND per trip (one-way). This incident might make more than one future passenger wary of using this means of transportation but don’t miss out on visiting Vung Tau, a great place to relax and see the coast, albeit, the beaches are not memorable but the town and general atmosphere are worth the trip for sure. Travel safely!
A view from the inside of the hydrofoil running the route from Saigon (HCMC) to Vung Tau.
Photo credit: Angela Schonberg from travelfish.com blogs
Our latest update is that all 80 passengers are safe, by looking at the photos, it seems fair to say that they were lucky to be able to jump into the water in time (an issue that has been raised in the past by several tourists and bloggers was the narrow exit from the main cabin…).
Read a complete article about this hydofoil HCMC-Vung Tau catching fire on Tuoitrenews.vn (photos are taken from there).