Bangladesh Ferry Sinks Killing 33 on Board

Bangladesh Ferry Sinks Killing 33 on BoardBangladesh Ferry Sinks Killing 33 on Board

A river ferry carrying about 100 passengers capsized in central Bangladesh on Sunday after being hit by a cargo vessel, killing at least 33 people, officials said, adding that the toll could rise to as many as 40.

The ferry collided with a trawler on the river Padma about 40km north-west of the capital Dhaka. At least 50 passengers managed to swim to shore or were saved, officials said, with rescue efforts ongoing, AP said in a report.

The ferry was submerged at a depth of up to 6 meters, said Inspector Zihad Mia, director of the rescue operation.

He said officials had yet to determine how many passengers were missing. Ferries in Bangladesh usually do not maintain formal passenger lists.

“We don’t have a clear picture about how many were exactly in the ferry when it sank,” Mia said. “But I think many have survived.”

A passenger who survived said many people got trapped inside when the ferry sank. “The passengers who were on the deck have survived, but many who were inside got trapped,” Hafizur Rahman Sheikh was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.

The Padma is one of the largest rivers in Bangladesh, where overcrowding and poor safety standards are often blamed for ferry disasters.

Last August, a ferry with a capacity of 85 passengers was found to be carrying more than 200 when it capsized on the Padma near Dhaka, leaving more than 100 people dead or missing. The ferry’s owner was arrested after weeks in hiding on charges of culpable homicide, unauthorized operation and overloading.

At least five people were killed earlier this month when a ferry sank in southern Bangladesh.