At least 25 people were killed and over a dozen are missing after a boat overturned in a river in Bangladesh.
The bodies of 12 women and eight children have so far been recovered, said Jahurul Islam, district administrator of northern Panchagarh, where the accident happened on Sunday.
“The rescue operation for those missing is ongoing,” he said, adding the ferry was mainly carrying people to a Hindu temple to celebrate the occasion of Mahalaya, which pays respect to ancestors.
Passengers said more than 70 people had been on the boat, which sank in the Karatoya river. Some managed to swim ashore or were rescued but around 20 people are still missing, police said.
The engine-run boat overturned near Awalia ghat under Maria union around 1.30 pm when it was heading towards Bodeshari Hindu temple under Borososhi union, said Sujoy Kumar Roy, officer-in-charge of Boda Police Station.
This isn’t the first boat-related accident in Bangladesh.
In March 2022, rescuers recovered six bodies after a cargo vessel hit a ferry carrying dozens of people along a river outside Bangladesh’s capital.
Fire service official Rozina Akhter said they could not determine how many were on board the ferry. Local media reported between 30 and 50 people were on the ferry when the collision occurred in Narayanganj, just outside Dhaka.
In another 2021 incident, a passenger boat carrying more than 100 people sank after a collision in a large pond in Bangladesh, and officials said 21 people were dead and about 50 went missing.
A witness said two cargo vessels hit the boat, which sank quickly, Dhaka-based The Daily Star newspaper reported.
“I was grazing cattle on the bank of the pond. I heard a loud noise and saw the cargo vessels hitting the passenger trawler. I saw the trawler sinking quickly,” witness Nurul Amin told the paper.
Bangladesh is a delta nation where water transport is heavily used to move people and goods, but deadly accidents are common because of unskilled operations and poor enforcement of safety rules.