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Ferry with 750 passengers sinks in Bangladesh

A ferry carrying about 750 people capsized in southern Bangladesh, and about 600 people were missing and feared dead, rescue officials said on Wednesday.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2003 09:53 IST

A ferry carrying about 750 people capsized in southern Bangladesh, and about 600 people were missing and feared dead, rescue officials said on Wednesday.

The triple-deck ferry was traveling from Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, to the southern Bhola district when it sank late on Tuesday near Chandpur town, 64 kilometers (40 miles) south of Dhaka, said Manzoor-e-Elahi, the area's government administrator. About 150 people either swam to shore or were rescued by local fishermen, he said.

Survivors said the ferry, the MV Nasrin-2, careened when it hit turbulent waters where the Padma, Meghna and Dakatia rivers merge as it approached a ferry terminal. It sank as many passengers were either asleep or preparing to go to bed.

Heavy monsoon rains have swollen many rivers in Bangladesh. No bodies have been recovered so far, officials said. The ferry was overcrowded and was loaded with a cargo of rice and vegetables, said one survivor, Anwar Hossain.

Elahi said police and local people were using boats to search for survivors.

Frequent boating accidents, often blamed on overloading, faulty construction and disregard for safety measures, claim hundreds of lives every year in the nation of 130 million people. In April, following protests by boat operators, Bangladesh officials withdrew a ban on night travel by ferries that was instituted after a series of accidents.

In return for the lifting of the ban, ferry owners promised not to operate their vessels in inclement weather and to follow safety regulations.

First Published: Jul 09, 2003 09:53 IST