updated 4/30/2007 1:20:36 PM ET 2007-04-30T17:20:36

A boat carrying 24 Vietnamese tourists capsized in the sea off central Vietnam, drowning eight people, an official said Monday.

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The bodies of the eight people, including two women and three children, were recovered hours after the accident Sunday in Da Nang, said Duong Thanh Thi, chairman of People's Committee in Lien Chieu District.

Da Nang is 760 kilometers (475 miles) southeast of Hanoi.

The boat was not registered as a tourist vessel but was being used to meet high demand during a public holiday, Thi said, adding that all the tourists on board were Vietnamese.

The boat capsized when it was about about 100 meters (yards) from shore. Most of those on board managed to swim to safety or were rescued by fishermen and soldiers, he said.

The boat's pilot has been detained for questioning, Thi said.

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