At Least 30 die in Bangladesh ferry ac­ci­dent

Iran Daily - - Society -

At least 30 peo­ple died and a dozen are miss­ing af­ter a ferry cap­sized and sank Mon­day in the Bangladesh­i cap­i­tal Dhaka fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with another ves­sel, res­cue of­fi­cials said.

The Morn­ing Bird ves­sel was hit from be­hind by another ferry around 9:30 a.m. lo­cal time (0330 GMT) dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour, when the coun­try’s largest river port is packed with ves­sels, AFP re­ported.

“We have col­lected 30 bod­ies, in­clud­ing 20 males, seven women and three chil­dren,” Abul Khair, a diver in the fire brigade, told AFP.

“There were at least 50 peo­ple on board... Our res­cue divers are still search­ing,” coast­guard spokesman com­man­der Hayet Ibne Sid­dique said.

The ferry — which de­parted from cen­tral Mun­shi­ganj Dis­trict — sank as it was about to moor at Sadarghat, Dhaka’s main river port used by hun­dreds of boats to travel to the coun­try’s south.

Bangladesh In­land Wa­ter Trans­port Author­ity’s chief, Com­modore Go­lam Sad­eqk, told AFP the sin­gle-deck ship was “not overcrowde­d” and sank “due to care­less­ness”.

He said the ves­sel had been cleared to carry pas­sen­gers un­til Septem­ber.

Wit­nesses told lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tions many pas­sen­gers ap­peared to be stuck in the ferry’s cab­ins.

Divers were still pulling bod­ies from the wreck, in wa­ters some 40-50 feet (12-15 me­ters) deep. The de­ceased were put in body­bags be­fore they were laid in rows at the har­bor-front.

Another boat would later ar­rive to lift the dam­aged ves­sel from the wa­ter, Sid­dique said.

Rel­a­tives gath­ered at Sadarghat de­spite coro­n­avirus so­cial dis­tanc­ing con­cerns to search for their fam­ily.

“I still don’t know what hap­pened to them,” a man, search­ing for his cousin and another rel­a­tive, told re­porters.

Boat ac­ci­dents are com­mon in Bangladesh, which is criss­crossed by more than 230 rivers.

The South Asian na­tion is heav­ily re­liant on fer­ries for trans­port but has had a poor safety record.

Ex­perts blame badly main­tained ves­sels, lax safety stan­dards at ship­yards and over­crowd­ing for many of the ac­ci­dents.

In Fe­bru­ary 2015 at least 78 peo­ple died when an overcrowde­d ship col­lided with a cargo boat in a cen­tral Bangladesh river.

The num­ber of ac­ci­dents has dropped sharply in re­cent years as au­thor­i­ties crack­down on un­sea­wor­thy ves­sels.

AFP Res­cue work­ers bring bod­ies of vic­tims af­ter a ferry cap­sized at a ferry ter­mi­nal in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 29, 2020.

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