Workers to Raise Ferry in Deadly Bangladesh Crash
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Monday, March 25, 2019

Workers to Raise Ferry in Deadly Bangladesh Crash

By FARID HOSSAIN / AP WRITER Wednesday, March 14, 2012

People look for missing relatives as bodies are lined up near the site of ferry accident on Meghna River in Bangladesh. (Photo: Reuters)

DHAKA, Bangladesh—Recovery workers were trying to raise the wreckage of a ferry that capsized on a river in Bangladesh while carrying around 200 people, hoping Wednesday's efforts would reveal the fate of dozens of passengers still missing. The death toll currently stands at 42.

The ferry collided with a cargo boat and capsized in the darkness of Tuesday morning, sending hundreds of people into the Meghna River, just south of the capital Dhaka. Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said around 35 survivors were plucked out of the water, while local media reported that another 40 managed to swim to shore.

The death toll climbed to 42 on Wednesday after villagers and rescuers found more bodies floating near the scene of the accident, said rescue official Mahfuzul Haque. Divers recovered 31 bodies from inside the sunken ferry the day before.

Victims included a young woman found cradling her baby's lifeless body, said Khan.

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

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

Khan said a bigger rescue vessel, MV Hamza, reached the scene on Wednesday morning and would work on salvaging the sunken boat. The ferry sank in around 70 feet (21 meters) of water.

Khan could not specify how many people were missing but said many were feared dead. It is difficult to get a reliable estimate for the number of passengers as ferry operators rarely keep a list and most passengers buy tickets once on board.

Some of the bodies inside the sunken ferry were buried under cargo, said Mohammad Alauddin, a diver who was among the searchers.

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 Dhaka from neighboring Shariatpur district to the southwest. The accident site is in Munshiganj district, around 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Dhaka.

Survivor Dulal Dewan described chaos as the ferry and cargo boat collided.

“I was awakened with a big jolt,” said the businessman, who had been asleep on the top deck. “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 are still unaccounted for.

Another survivor, Abdul Gani Akhand, was shivering as a rescue worker escorted him to a hospital. “I was sleeping and I really don't know how I survived,” he said.

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

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