Bangladesh ferry capsizes, many missing
Dhaka, February 19, 2009
Scores of people were missing after a ferry carrying more than 150 people sank in a river in southern Bangladesh on Thursday following a collision with a cargo vessel, police said.
Rescuers found the body of one woman in the Kirtonkhola river in Barisal district where the launch capsized, nearly 170 km (106 miles) from the capital Dhaka.
"The number of people missing is anything between 50 to 100," said police officer Nuruzzaman Chowdhury.
A resident said it was difficult to assess the scale of the disaster because there was no passenger manifest as is common on inland river launches.
"Many also take the ride without tickets," Sahabuddin Mollah said.
Witnesses said a salvage ship reached the accident site around noon on Thursday and was trying to lift the sunken vessel.
"We will know the confirmed death toll when the ferry is salvaged," said Nuruzzaman. He said the cargo vessel involved in the collision had been seized.
Ferry accidents kill hundreds of people and leave many unaccounted for in Bangladesh every year, and families of the victims are not compensated.
Many river accidents occur due to overloading and inexperience or negligence of the crew. - Reuters