17 killed as dragon boats capsize

Participants attend a dragon boat race in Xuan'en County central China's Hubei Province

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV says five people have died and others are missing after two dragon boats capsized in southern China, causing 60 people to fall into the water.

In total, nearly 60 people were tipped into the water, on a stretch of a river in the city of Guilin.

Television pictures showed one of the long, narrow boats going over on a stretch of a river where the current appeared to be strong. At the same time, another boat came full of paddlers and got capsized, the pictures showed.

Most of those who went into the river were reportedly not wearing life jackets.

The Guilin fire department said on the Sina Weibo social media site that search efforts ended late on Saturday and 17 people had been confirmed dead.

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According to the report, the incident occurred on the river in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region on Saturday, 21 April at 13:40 local time (8:40 on Kiev).

The Xinhua News Agency reported, nearly eight boats and over 200 people were deployed for the rescue.

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

Races are held to mark the annual summer solstice dragon boat festival.

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