Ferry capsizes in Bangladesh, at least five dead and 50 missing

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

File photo of a boat on water near Bhola.
Image: Tarif.

A ferry has sunk in Bangladesh earlier today, killing at least five people, according to authorities. About fifty more people were missing after the incident.

Police said that the accident occurred as the vessel, called the MV Coco-4, came near a river station at Bhola Island, located 300 kilometres from the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. The ferry was reportedly overcrowded, and the boat tipped to one side as all its passengers moved to disembark.

"It was overcrowded with over 1,000 passengers. It tilted and part of it sank due to crowd pressure as it arrived near the Nazirpur river station," said a local police chief, Zakir Hossain, to the Agence France-Presse news agency. He also added that "many passengers have managed to land safely. But we believe some others who were staying in the cabins were trapped under water. We are trying to rescue them," Rescue teams and divers are reportedly searching underwater for bodies.

Ferry accidents are not infrequent in the country; incidents have usually been due to overcrowding, or the use of old vessels. "At festival time it is really difficult to stop passengers and relevant ferry operators from flouting rules," said an officer for the Bangladesh water authority.


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