Ferry likely overcrowded before capsizing in Bangladesh river; 29 dead, 100 may be missing

Published: May 16, 2014

A Bangladeshi man mourns for his missing brother, as rescuers continue to search the site of a ferry that sank, on the banks of the River Meghna in Munshiganj district, in Bangladesh, Friday, May 16, 2014. AP Photo/Suvra Kanti Das

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MUNSHIGANJ, Bangladesh — A ferry that capsized during a storm in central Bangladesh, killing at least 29 people — and possibly many more — was likely overcrowded when it went down, authorities said Friday.

Rescuers recovered at least 29 bodies by Friday afternoon but police estimate at least 100 are still missing. It was not clear exactly how many people were on board because the ferry operators did not maintain a passenger list, according to a local administrator, Saiful Hasan.

Some passengers swam to safety, and some crew may have fled the scene after swimming to shore as well.

Rescue diver Masudul Haque said he had recovered nine of the bodies but many victims were trapped in cabin rooms.

“We have recovered the bodies mainly from the lower deck and other open spaces but could not open the doors of the cabin rooms where many passengers took shelter after the storm had hit,” Haque said.

“I tried to open those doors but could not as huge volumes of sand have buried many of the doors,” he said.

Relatives of the missing and the dead gathered on the banks the Meghna River, near where the boat capsized Thursday afternoon in Munshiganj district. Several bodies, covered in cloth, were laid out on the ground.

“I came here yesterday for my brother but I don’t have any trace yet. Nobody can assure me of anything,” said Lokman Hossain as he sobbed.

“Won’t I get my brother back? Oh brother, please come back,” he wailed.

Sabuj, a passenger who jumped overboard when the ship began to sink, said he was among some 25 survivors who swam.

He said the captain of the double-decker ferry ignored the passengers’ calls to stay close to the shore as the storm started brewing.

“But he continued to steer the ship” out into the water, said Sabuj, who uses one name.

Authorities believe the crew may have run away, based on accounts from surviving passengers. “We are looking for them,” said Ferdous Ahmed, local police chief.

The estimate of at least 100 missing is based on preliminary claims by family members and relatives, Ahmed said. Police say confusion exists and they are being conservative about the estimate.

Many family members of the missing were using country boats to scour the river in search of their loved ones, and an official used a loudspeaker to ask the relatives to move away from the accident site to help continue the search.

A salvage ship failed to pull out the ferry in the afternoon as strong currents in the 18-meters- (60-feet-) deep water made sand cover the vessel.

Haque, the Fire Service and Civil Defence diver, said the rescuers would work overnight to tow the ferry to the shore to search for more bodies. Two salvage ferries have been engaged, he said.

The ferry was apparently overcrowded and its lower deck was loaded with goods, said Mohammad Ali, a director of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. Officials were investigating whether the vessel was overcrowded or had design faults.

Ferries are a common mode of transportation in this populous delta nation, and the Meghna River has been the scene of past accidents.

In 2012, at least 150 people died when a ferry carrying about 200 people capsized at night in the river.

In 2003, an overcrowded ferry capsized in flood-swollen waters at the confluence of the Padma, Meghna and Dakatia rivers near the capital Dhaka. Up to 400 people died.

Related:

10:30ET 16-05-14

[+]

Tags: , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

1INDIA_MODI_218232180

Once shunned by U.S., India’s Modi rides wave of enthusiasm to White House for visit with Obama

JOSH LEDERMAN and DARLENE SUPERVILLE  THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Once shunned by the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is riding a wave…
Continue Reading »

1PNG_0929N_CITY_INQUEST_218232808

Mexican woman sneaked into Canada through bushes, border officer tells coroner’s inquest

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Mexican woman who committed suicide in custody awaiting deportation had sneaked into Canada through the bushes in Surrey, a coroner’s…
Continue Reading »

1WEATHER_EXTREMES_218229168

Some of 2013′s weirdest weather had the fingerprints of man-made climate change, studies show (w/ photos)

SETH BORENSTEIN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

White House: ‘We support the aspirations’ of Hong Kong democracy protesters

By Alexander Panetta THE CANADIAN PRESS WASHINGTON — Foreign governments expressed support Monday for historic protests in Hong Kong despite a pointed warning from the…
Continue Reading »

1PNG_0929N_CITY_INQUEST_218232808

Mexican woman sneaked into Canada through bushes, border officer tells coroner’s inquest

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Mexican woman who committed suicide in custody awaiting deportation had sneaked into Canada through the bushes in Surrey, a coroner’s…
Continue Reading »

maple main

Remembering Maple Batalia: Surrey vigil marks three-year anniversary of SFU student’s slaying

CHERYL CHAN VANCOUVER DESI Three years after the murder of Maple Batalia, friends and family once again lit candles at Holland Park in honour of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

British comedian John Oliver takes aim at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's U.S. visit on his HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube/Screengrab.

British comedian John Oliver again covers Indian politics in HBO show, takes aim at Modi’s U.S. visit (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI British comedian John Oliver has covered Indian politics yet again on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In this…
Continue Reading »

shah-rukh-khan-bn6a4756

Review: Was Shah Rukh Khan’s SLAM! The Tour worth the 3 hour delay in Vancouver?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI After a nearly three-hour delay, Bollywood finally took over Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum Saturday night with a lavish evening of song, dance,…
Continue Reading »

Barbie

Religious groups angry over Barbie as Hindu goddess Kali, Virgin Mary (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Two artists from Argentina have given the legendary Barbie and Ken dolls forms of various religious figurines from Jesus and Mary to Hindu…
Continue Reading »

treatment

Villagers bury woman to cure her after getting ‘shocked’

CEN AGENCY Villagers in India sprung into action after one of their neighbours was suffered a high voltage electric shock – by burying her up…
Continue Reading »

Wedding dress

Gallery: Asian bride hopes to set record with world’s longest wedding dress train

CEN AGENCY A bride is claiming a new world record after commissioning the world’s biggest ever wedding dress for her big day – with an…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Sushmita Sen (L) and Hrithik Roshan (R) will be featured int he upcoming Mytra Fashion Weekend in Mumbai. Getty Images.

Sushmita Sen, Hrithik Roshan to glam up Mumbai’s Myntra Fashion Weekend

IANS Mumbai  – Former beauty queen and actress Sushmita Sen is set to scorch the ramp as showstopper on the opening day of fashion, beauty…
Continue Reading »

Tommy Hilfiger (L) says he is a fan of Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor (R). Getty Images.

Tommy Hilfiger fond of Bollywood films, favours Sonam Kapoor

IANS New Delhi  – American designer Tommy Hilfiger loves to watch Bollywood movies and appreciates the growing fashion quotient in Hindi movies and his favourite…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan’s #BangBangDare to Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has taken a unique approach to promote his upcoming film Bang Bang — a #BangBangDare to his friends in…
Continue Reading »