A policeman carries a dead body after the ferry accident in Munshiganj district, Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 15, 2014. At least 12 bodies were retrieved from a ferry that capsized on Thursday evening in the middle of a river in a central Bangladesh district after caught in a storm, police said. (Xinhua)
DHAKA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 bodies were retrieved from a ferry that capsized on Thursday evening in the middle of a river in a central Bangladesh district after caught in a storm, police said.
"12 bodies have been recovered from the sunken ferry," Ferdous Hossain, officer-in-charge of Gajaria Police Station in Munsihganj district, told Xinhua over phone.
He said a search operation is still under way after the ferry, carrying on board about 250 to 300 passengers, capsized in Meghna river in Munshiganj district, some 27 km away of capital Dhaka, after it was hit by a nor'wester (known as a type of storm in Bangladesh).
Hossain said a rescue vessel has been called in to boost local efforts to salvage the ferry.
Officials said many passengers were able to swim ashore after the accident at about 3:00 p.m. local time on Thursday and they could not tell immediately the exact number of the missing passengers.
They said dozens of people were still missing.
Estimates varied as to how many people were on board the ferry. Hossain put the number at close to 300, while another official who preferred to be unnamed said about 200 people were on board.
The ferry services in Bangladesh never maintain list of passengers and none can exactly say how many passengers a ferry carries.
Ferry and boat disasters are common in Bangladesh, which is crisscrossed by about 250 rivers. Ferry is still a key means of transport in the country. Most of them are often overcrowded.