A Bangladesh ferry disaster has left at least 48 people dead and many others missing. The passenger ferry capsized after being struck by a cargo vessel.
The river ferry, which was carrying around 140 passengers, capsized in central Bangladesh following the collision, and a huge rescue operation is currently underway to find the missing passengers.
The incident took place at the Daulatdia-Paturia crossing on the Padma River in the afternoon hours on Sunday, according to fire department official Shahzadi Begum.
The M.L. Mosta, which is the name of the sunken ferry, was submerged at a depth around 20 feet, and by Sunday evening, 48 bodies had already been recovered.
Inspector Zihad Mia, who is overseeing the rescue operation, told Reuters, “We don’t have a clear picture about how many were exactly in the ferry when it sank. But I think many have survived.”
An official from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority also spoke to reporters, telling them that at least 140 people were on board when the vessel sank, if not more.
One of the surviving passengers from the ferry, Hafizur Rahman Sheikh, told reporters, “The passengers who were on the deck have survived, but many who were inside got trapped.”
He said that the cargo vessel collided hard with the middle section of the ferry, leading to its sinking.
A five-member committee has been given 15 days to submit an official report to the Ministry of Shipping.
Back in August of 2104, a ferry with a capacity of 85 passengers was found to be carrying more than 200 when it capsized on the Padma near Dhaka, leaving more than 100 people dead or missing.
At the time, the ferry’s owner was arrested after weeks in hiding on charges of culpable homicide, unauthorized operation, and overloading.
In another example of how dangerous passenger ferries are in Bangladesh, just this month, five people were killed when a ferry overturned in south Bangladesh.