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

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood-Hollywood

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra signs deal with ABC Television Studios

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who has already made inroads into foreign shores with her music, has signed a one-year TV development deal…
Continue Reading »

Terror Attack-Pakistan

Pakistani court bails out main suspect in Mumbai terror attack

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Thursday granted bail to the chief suspect in the Mumbai attack trial, a defence lawyer…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »

TK

Vancouver accountant pins hopes on civil action against newspaper publisher he says attacked him

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver accountant is upset that a prominent South Asian newspaper publisher he accused of attacking him won’t go to trial….
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Surrey’s Pakistani-Canadians to hold candlelight vigil at Holland Park for children massacred in Taliban attack

SURREY NOW NORTH SURREY — Hundreds of people are expected to turn out at Holland Park in Surrey tonight to hold a candlelight vigil in…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Taliban attack

Letter: A Canadian mom mourns for victims of the Taliban school attack

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI At the loss of young dreams, an appeal to the parents of this world: While we always talk about how the…
Continue Reading »

deportation-Canada

No hope for deported Pakistani woman to return to Saskatoon as Ottawa closes case

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — The lawyer for a woman deported to Pakistan says there is no hope left that she will be allowed to…
Continue Reading »

Ashiana Complex Delhi

‘I have to hide my face in public, the man who raped me roams free’

HINDUSTAN TIMES They say time flies. But for me it got stuck 10 years ago. I was a victim waiting for justice then and I…
Continue Reading »

India-Canada

B.C. Premier Christy Clark hopes her son will learn life lessons on India school-building trip

THE CANADIAN PRESS KELOWNA, B.C. — British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says she’ll be heading to India with her son on Boxing Day to help…
Continue Reading »

Indian followers of deceased guru Ashutosh Maharaj Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthaan sit front posters bearing his image at a stall during a congregation at his ashram ahead of a High Court hearing to discuss his possible cremation in Nurmahal some 30kms from Jalandhar on December 14, 2014. Ashustosh Maharaj was declared clinically dead on January 2014 but his body has been kept in a deep-freeze at his ashram with followers confident he will return to life to lead them. STRSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Indian court rules frozen dead guru can remain in deep freezer – for now

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian court has delayed the cremation order of a dead guru whose been kept in a deep freezer by his followers since…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood-Hollywood

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra signs deal with ABC Television Studios

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who has already made inroads into foreign shores with her music, has signed a one-year TV development deal…
Continue Reading »

Sexy posters Bollywood

Gallery: Bollywood’s daring film posters in 2014

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actor Aamir Khan became the hot topic of discussion on social media after stripping onscreen for the first time for his film…
Continue Reading »

desi babe

Gallery: Hottest new faces in Bollywood 2014

VANCOUVER DESI The young and the restless are stirring up the calm world of Bollywood this year, ruled mostly by the three Khans and a…
Continue Reading »