China Detains 2 Over Tourist Boat Capsizing That Killed 12, Citing Lack Of Safety Equipment

BEIJING (AP) — Two people have been detained following the capsizing of a tourist boat on a river in northeastern China that led to the drowning deaths of 12 visitors, state media reported Sunday.

The accident occurred Saturday afternoon outside the city of Qinhuangdao near the coast of Hebei province, a few hour's drive from the capital Beijing.

A total of 31 people were thrown into the water. The boat was made by local villagers and was unequipped with life jackets or other safety equipment, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The boat’s owner and operator were held while an investigation into the accident was underway. China is a nation of powerful rivers and such deadly accidents used to be common before major safety improvements in recent years.

China's tourist industry, and the economy in general, has struggled to recover following the partial lifting of heavy restrictions imposed by the authoritarian Communist Party in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rural communities have long struggled to generate jobs and revenues, spurring the working age population to migrate to cities.