Ferry with up to 100 aboard capsizes in Bangladesh

AP News
Posted: Feb 08, 2013 8:51 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — At least two people died and dozens were rescued after a passenger ferry collided with another ship and capsized Friday on a river in central Bangladesh, dumping as many as 100 people into the water, officials and witnesses said.

Police said the ferry went down on the River Meghna in Munshiganj district, 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of the capital, Dhaka. By Friday evening, rescuers had recovered the bodies of a child and a woman.

There was confusion over the number of passengers on board the ferry at the time of the accident. Relatives and neighbors at the scene said some people were missing, but authorities would not provide an official list of those who were unaccounted for.

Khokon Mollik said he had yet to locate neighbors who were on the ferry, including 17 members of a family who were traveling to a funeral.

"We have found none of them yet," Mollik said.

A 12-year-old passenger, Omar Faruk, said he couldn't find his mother.

Shamsuddoha Khandaker, chairman of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), said they were trying to locate the sunken ferry, the ML Sarash.

The private television station Channel-I said local villagers rescued more than 40 people after the accident, and that several other people swam to shore.

The station put the number of passengers at more than 100, though a local police official said it was about 80. Badiuzzaman Badal, president of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport and Passenger Service, said the ferry was carrying just over 50 passengers.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 153 million people, and it is frequently unclear how many people are aboard the often overcrowded vessels.

The ML Sarash was on a local run from Narayanganj city to Matlab in the south when it went down.