This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019
Advertisement

31 dead, dozens missing in Bangladesh ferry crash

At least 200 people were on board when the double-deck ferry went down in the early hours of the morning, and more fatalities are expected to be confirmed.

Rescuers search for victims of a ferry accident on the Meghna River in Munshiganj district, about 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of Dhaka, India
Rescuers search for victims of a ferry accident on the Meghna River in Munshiganj district, about 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of Dhaka, India
Image: Pavel Rahman/AP/Press Association Images

A FERRY PACKED with about 200 people capsized in a river in southern Bangladesh today, killing 31 people and leaving dozens more missing, authorities said.

Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said about 35 people were rescued after the ferry sank on the Meghna River after colliding with a cargo boat early in the morning. Divers have recovered 31 bodies from inside the sunken ferry, he said.

He said the dead included a young woman found cradling her baby’s lifeless body.

“The death toll is likely to rise as more bodies are feared trapped inside,” Khan said. “We will get a better picture of the casualties once the sunken ferry is pulled out of the water.”

Khan could not specify exactly how many people were still missing, but said “many of those listed missing are feared dead.”

One of the divers, Mohammad Alauddin, said there were still bodies inside the sunken ferry, some of them buried under cargo.

Hundreds of anxious people, many of them weeping, gathered near the scene of the accident to look for their loved ones.

The MV Shariatpur-1 was traveling to the capital, Dhaka, from neighboring Shariatpur district to the southwest. The accident site is in Munshiganj district, about 32 kilometers south of Dhaka.

Dulal Dewan, a survivor, described a scene of chaos as the ferry collided with the other ship.

“I was awakened with a big jolt,” said the businessman, who was asleep on the top deck when the collision occurred. “I jumped into the river in darkness as the ferry started going down.”

“In minutes there were screams all around,” he said. “People were shouting for help.”

Dewan said he was rescued by a nearby boat, but eight other family members traveling with him were still unaccounted for.

Estimates varied as to how many people were on board the ferry.

Khan put the number at close to 200, while Dewan told reporters that about 300 people were on board when the double-deck ferry sank.

It is difficult to get a reliable estimate as ferry operators rarely keep a list of passengers. Most passengers buy tickets once on board.

Abdul Gani Akhand, 75, was among the survivors.

“I was sleeping and I really don’t know how I survived,” he said, shivering as a rescue worker ferried him to a hospital.

An investigation has been ordered into the cause of the accident, said Azizul Alam, the area’s government administrator.

Alam said rescuers located the ferry in water about 21 metres deep. He said a rescue vessel was trying to pull the sunken boat close to the shore.

Ferry accidents, often blamed on overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules, are common in Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation of 160 million people.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)