Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh: Ferry capsizing death toll rises to 34

5 bodies recovered from river on Tuesday, 2 on Monday night as authorities yet to locate cargo vessel allegedly involved

SM Najmus Sakib   | 06.04.2021
Bangladesh: Ferry capsizing death toll rises to 34

DHAKA, Bangladesh

The death toll from Sunday's ferry capsizing in central Bangladesh rose to 34, rescue officials said on Tuesday.

“Five more bodies were recovered from the Shitalakkhya River near the capital Dhaka on Tuesday, while another two were retrieved on Monday night in the water,” Abdullah Al Arefin, deputy assistant director of the Narayanganj Fire Service and Civil Defense, told Anadolu Agency.

Earlier, 27 bodies were found late Monday before the rescue operation was concluded for the day.

“We retrieved 34 bodies out of a total 33 officially listed missing passengers, and 20 passengers on the vessel managed to survive. Though we completed the rescue operation, we’re still trying to collect information to see if there are any missing people,” he added.

The ill-fated ML Sabit Al Hasan capsized with over 50 passengers on Sunday evening after colliding with a cargo ship on the Shitalakshya River, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Dhaka.

Compensation to relatives

Members of the country's naval force, coast guard, fire service, and river police joined the rescue operation on Sunday.

The district administration has already started providing compensation to the victims’ families in an effort to provide immediate support, the official said.

Mubarak Hossain, deputy director of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in Narayanganj, told Anadolu Agency that three probe bodies have been formed, including the Shipping Ministry and the Narayanganj district administration, to investigate the incident.

The total number of missing and survivors will be known as soon as “we combine all the information from all rescuing government bodies and district officials,” he added.

So far authorities have yet to locate the cargo vessel allegedly involved in the collision.

The South Asian country is crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers, including major ones such as the Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna.

According to the Shipping Ministry, from 1991 to 2020, over 3,600 people died and nearly 500 went missing as a result of the capsizing of more than 550 passenger vessels.

Seasonal natural calamities such as storms and cyclones, vessel fitness issues, unskilled pilots, and passenger overload are the main causes of those accidents.

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