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Bangladesh ferry sinking death toll rises to 47, Search continues for others

English.news.cn   2014-05-17 14:22:35

by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Fire brigade and naval divers retrieved more bodies Saturday from a ferry that capsized Thursday in a central Bangladesh district, bringing the death toll to 47 as search continued for the third day.

"47 bodies have been retrieved so far while searches are still underway for the missing ones," Ferdous Hossain, officer-in- charge of Gajaria Police Station in Munsihganj district told Xinhua over mobile phone.

Munshiganj Police Chief Zakir Hossain Majumder told Xinhua that search continued as more people still remained missing.

He said "Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) which is supervising the rescue operation at the site asked us to continue search after it decided to suspend rescue operation on Saturday morning."

Sources said dozens of people still remained missing. "We'll continue searching in collaboration with the villagers for recovering the ill-fated passengers who were still missing," he said.

"We've to continue search as we have seen many missing passengers' relatives to await bodies," said a BIWTA official, who preferred to be unnamed, from the accident scene.

He said many ill-fated passengers' relatives have lodged complaints to the authorities, urging recovery of bodies which remained missing although the sunken ferry was dragged upon the river bank after hours of frantic efforts.

Majumder had earlier said the ferry, carrying about 200 passengers on the Meghna River in Munshiganj, some 27 km southeast of capital Dhaka, sank in the waters about 50 feet deep at about 03:00 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Hundreds of relatives and friends of the ill-fated passengers on Saturday also gathered at the accident site to identify the dead or in the quest for missing persons.

Some of the relatives spent the whole night at a temporary shelter center set up on a river island adjacent to the accident scene while many flocked there in the morning. They were in a state of deep shock.

A large number of people, particularly women and children, of the ill-fated passengers wailed loudly at the time when the divers started to lift the sunken ferry. More heart-breaking moments came again and again as more bodies were lifted from waters.

Ferry services in Bangladesh never maintain list of passengers and none can exactly say how many passengers a ferry carries. Like many other Dhaka-bound ferries, the ill-fated water taxi was excessively overcrowded Thursday, some survivors alleged.

Boats and ferries are still commonly used as key means of transportation in Bangladesh which is criss-crossed by about 250 rivers. However, the vessels are often overloaded or badly maintained, and accidents are commonplace.

Editor: Fu Peng
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