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Bangladesh ferry disaster death toll climbs to 50


DHAKA: The death toll from the sinking of an overcrowded ferry carrying Hindu devotees in northern Bangladesh climbed to 50 on Monday (Sep 26), with many passengers missing a day after the disaster.

Onlookers and relatives of the missing gathered along the riverbank as rescuers searched for bodies, witnesses said.

“I just want to see the face of my mother,” Deepak Chandra Roy said, speaking through tears as he searched for his mother. His son was rescued.

The dead recovered so far included 25 women and 13 children, said Jahurul Islam, chief administrator of the northern district of Panchagarh, where the accident occurred.

“Divers are searching for more bodies as some are still missing,” he said, adding the ferry was taking Hindu devotees to a temple on the occasion of Mahalaya, when Hindus make offerings to their ancestors.

The death toll was the worst for a maritime disaster in the country since 2015.

A five-member committee was investigating the sinking but initial reports suggested the boat was carrying almost three times its capacity, Islam said.

Authorities were making checks on the list of the missing based on information provided by relatives, he said, while passengers said more than 70 people had been on board.

Police said some 15 people were still missing while some of the passengers managed to swim ashore or were rescued.

Dozens of people die each year in ferry accidents in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that has extensive inland waterways and lax safety standards. 

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