Snorkellers may have died from fishing blast: Vietnam police

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Two foreign tourists who died while snorkelling in Vietnam may have been killed in a blast caused by fishing explosives, police said on Wednesday.

Frenchman Philippe Bousseau died along with a Russian tourist on Monday in waters around Cau island in Binh Thuan province of southern Vietnam, police said.

A second Russian tourist who was injured in the incident told investigators that he heard an explosion before losing consciousness, said Phan The Nam, an officer with the provincial police.

"According to our initial information, it is probable that certain people threw explosives for fishing into the water," Nam said.

Using explosives for fishing is widespread in Vietnam even though it is banned.

Nam said the victims were not snorkelling in a designated area and the investigation into the deaths was continuing.

"We haven't yet determined the cause of their death. We are examining their bodies and the accident scene," he said.

A detective, who declined to be named, said local residents rescued one snorkeller. Fishermen then pulled the others from the water but they were already dead.

A French embassy spokeswoman confirmed that the French tourist had died. A spokesman from Moscow's diplomatic mission could not be immediately reached.

The surviving Russian was examined at the provincial hospital and released, a nurse said.

Binh Thuan is a popular tourist destination famed for its sand dunes at Mui Ne, near the Hai Au Resort.

© 2010 AFP

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