Dhaka: At least 28 people, mostly women and children, were killed on Thursday and scores went missing as a jam-packed ferry capsized after colliding with the wreckage of a stone laden trawler in Meghna river in eastern Bangladesh.
The ferry, carrying more than 150 passengers, was bound for Jamalganj from Bhairab when it sank after colliding with the wreckage of a trawler in central Brahmanbaria.
"A total of 28 bodies were recovered and search for more is underway," Additional police superintendent of Brahmanbaria district Faisal Ahmed in Dhaka told PTI.
Nearly 100 people on the overloaded double-decker ferry swam to shore, Ahmed, quoting residents of the nearby villages, said. A team of divers from Dhaka was searching for more bodies and survivors.
The toll was expected to rise with some passengers believed to be trapped inside the ferry. The rescue operations were halted due to bad weather for some time, but later resumed.
The ferry apparently went down after hitting a wreck of a stone laden trawler which capsized in the river few days ago. Passengers were asleep at the time of the accident.
Ahmed said a salvage vessel of the state-run Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) was expected to join the salvage campaign to retrieve the vessel.
A local journalist said most of the victims were women and minor children who could not make their way to get out of the ferry after the accident.
The families of those who are still missing are waiting anxiously on the river banks, he said.
Ferry accidents are frequent in Bangladesh and are blamed on overcrowding.
The latest accident came four months after some 40 people drowned when a passenger ferry hit a cargo ship and sank.
In November last year, 85 people drowned after an overloaded triple-decker ferry capsized off southwestern Bhola Island.
Story first published:
April 22, 2011 00:21 IST