Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bangladesh ferry sinks: 200 feared dead

The passenger count must be the cruelest joke. Even the smallest raft in Bengal/Bangladesh is packed with dozens of people. There will be many more people who must have been on the ferry and now will remain unaccounted for.

Just like that so many innocent souls sent to their death due to (criminal) overcrowding of boats, as has happened many many times before (the disaster below is from 2009). Some people (South Asians especially) never seem to be able to learn from their mistakes (but they will remember their pet hatreds over centuries).

A Bangladeshi ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a river near the capital Dhaka on Thursday, with police reporting that at least six bodies had been recovered with a rescue vessel still on the way to the site.

The M.V. Miraj-4 ferry capsized in stormy weather in the Meghna river at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27 kilometres from Dhaka. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm (0930 GMT). The ferry had been going to Shariatpur from Dhaka.

“We are heading to the spot with rescue team,” said Saiful Hassan Badal, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj district told Reuters. He said the navy and coast guard were sending rescue teams and a ship had been sent from Dhaka.

So far six bodies had been recovered, including that of a child, according to Oliur Rahman, a police officer at the scene.

The death toll from the capsizing of a ferry over the weekend in southern Bangladesh rose Monday to 77 after rescuers recovered an additional 19 bodies.

Rescuers plucked 15 bloated bodies Monday from River Tetulia, where the overcrowded triple-deck ferry capsized late Friday, police official Mohammad Bayezid said. An additional four bodies were found overnight in the river, he said.

Bayezid said the bloated bodies were found as far away as three miles (five kilometers) from the site of the accident. Rescuers used speedboats to go farther downstream because some bodies may have been washed away during high tide.

Authorities said the search for dozens of people still listed as missing was suspended for the night Monday.

"Our divers have gone inside the submerged part of the ferry and found no more bodies there today," said Shahabuddin Ahmed, a fire brigade official supervising the rescue work. "On Sunday we found bodies mostly inside the submerged ferry. And on Monday, all the bodies were found floating in the river."

The M.V. Coco was packed with hundreds of travelers leaving Dhaka to head home for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha when it tilted and went down after reportedly hitting a river shoal.

It started to take on water as it arrived at Nazirhat town in the coastal district of Bhola, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the capital.

Authorities said there were no passenger lists, so it was unclear how many people were aboard the vessel, but Dhaka's private ETV television station said it could have been carrying more than 1,500 people. The boat was approved to carry 1,000 people.

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