| 22 April 2024, Monday |

Bangladesh ferry disaster death toll hits at least 26

Officials say a Bangladesh ferry carrying about 50 passengers collided with a cargo vessel and sank in the Shitalakhsya River south of the capital Dhaka on Sunday, killing at least 26 people and leaving a few more missing.

Twenty one bodies had been recovered on Monday. The ferry sank just after it departed from the industrial Narayanganj district about 20 kms (12 mies) from Dhaka, to Munshiganj, said Mustain Billah, Narayanganj district administrator.

“Most of the bodies were found inside the sunken boat after it was dragged to the bank,” he said, adding a few still could be missing.

Police and officials said some of the passengers managed to swim ashore.

Relatives gathered at the river bank to search for their loved ones. Rescuers, including divers from the fire brigade, were searching for survivors on Monday while salvage operations were hampered by a storm last night.

The boat was packed with people rushing to leave the city after the government announced a week-long nationwide lockdown from Monday to tackle a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday, Bangladesh announced a daily increase of 7,087 coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to 637,364, with 9,266 deaths.

In Bangladesh, a low-lying country with vast inland waterways but weak safety standards, hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents.

  • Reuters