Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Belaga boat incident: 3 Thai monks roped in to search for victims

On the ninth day of the search and rescue operation for victims of the Kawan Mas express boat incident, three Buddhist monks, who were brought in from Wan Velurachin in Thonburi, Bangkok, participated in the search, reports Bernama.

Phra Maha Lamphua, 44, Phra Maha Precha, 41, and Phra Maha Songsak, 69, arrived on Monday. They were brought in by the boat owners to help in the search for the victims, according to Buddhist rituals.

Songsak said rituals were performed to seek help from the "Mountain God" and "River God" to release and transfer the spirit of the victims, who are believed to be dead, to "heaven".

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The one-hour ritual involved the use of items like oranges, apples, paper shirts, sweets, mineral water, rum, "hell money" and joss sticks.

Meanwhile, it was a race against time yesterday for the salvage team that hoped to pull the sunken boat to shallow waters.

The Bakun Dam operators said the dam's gates had to be opened by 3pm to release its built-up capacity.

The salvage operation began at 9am, but attempts at wincing out the boat failed as divers failed to find the towing points on the wreck.

A later attempt then caused the cable to snap. The operation was called off at 5pm.

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