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Monday December 4, 2000

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Boat sinks in China, at least 9 dead

By The Associated Press

BEIJING - A passenger boat sank after colliding with a craft carrying rocks and sand on a river in central China, killing at least nine people, local officials said yesterday.

The accident occurred around midday Saturday in the sprawling Chongqing municipality's rural Tongnan county, the officials said. At least 20 people were aboard the passenger boat when it sank.

Nine people drowned and several were still missing, while about a dozen were rescued, the official Xinhua news agency said. Local officials said rescuers were still searching for the missing.

The owners of both boats tried to flee, but were captured and have been detained while authorities investigate, Xinhua said.

In October, a Chinese court sentenced four men to prison terms of up to seven years for causing a ferry accident that killed 130 passengers.