Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France: fighting political corruption with transparency

Read more

WEB NEWS

Using the web to further the cause: ISIS vs USA

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

  • US aid drops begin in besieged Iraqi town of Amerli

    Read more

  • Filipino UN troops escape Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Algerian diplomats held by Islamists are freed in Mali

    Read more

  • EU mulls Russia sanctions as Kiev warns of 'full-scale war'

    Read more

  • Pakistani protesters clash with police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • UK boy with brain tumour found in Spain, parents held

    Read more

  • Poland's Tusk, Italy's Mogherini set for top EU jobs

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialists' annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • South Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Death toll in Bangladesh ferry disaster surpasses 100

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-14

The death toll rose to at least 112 on Wednesday after a ferry collided with an oil barge in the Meghna river in Bangladesh. The vessel was carrying some 200 passengers when it capsized early Tuesday, 40 kilometres southeast of the capital Dhaka.

AFP - Rescue workers and divers in Bangladesh on Wednesday pulled scores of bodies from the wreckage of a ferry that sank after being hit by an oil barge, as the death toll rose to 112.

The packed Shariatpur 1 vessel, carrying about 200 passengers, capsized in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a collision with the barge in the Meghna river, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka.

Rescue teams completed their search of the ferry after raising it from the river bed and pulling it to the bank, head of the operation navy commander Gulzar Hossain said.

"The death toll is now 112," he told AFP. "Divers have combed through the cabins, decks and every place inside the wreckage and found many bodies."

"We've completed our search and most of the missing have been accounted for. Our teams are now scouring the river downstream to see whether any bodies have been washed away."

Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered at the river's edge for the second day as the dead were laid in lines on the bank for identification.

"Here is my mother, here is mother," a ten-year-old boy cried out and rushed into the water as a diver brought out one burqa-clad woman.

The double-decker ferry plunged 70-feet (20-metres) to the bottom of the river after being hit by the barge at about 2:30 am.

Efforts to salvage the sunken vessel were slow as it was weighed down by hundreds of sacks of chilli it was carrying as cargo.

The exact number of people on board was uncertain as passenger lists are often not maintained properly in Bangladesh and many travellers buy tickets on board.

Samsuddoha Khondker, chairman of the Inland Water Transport Authority, said an investigation was under way and that early reports suggested the ship, built in 1991, sank rapidly after it was hit.

Dozens of passengers swam to safety while others were rescued by a passing ferry.

"It's a national tragedy. We are trying to find which oil barge hit the ferry," Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan said in Dhaka. "We need to have maritime police to improve night-time navigation on our waterways."

Survivor Rina Begum said that the ferry sank after a loud noise woke her up.

"Everyone was screaming," she said. "I jumped through a window, but my husband could not. I was rescued by a vessel one and a half hours later. I have 15 relatives missing. We were part of a wedding party."

Sirajul Howlader, 40, who works in Italy, was inside one of the cabins on the upper deck when the vessel started to tilt and take in water.

"I went to sleep locking up my cabin. But suddenly I woke up after a jolt and a deafening sound. I managed to unlock the cabin and jumped before the ferry sank within minutes," he told AFP.

"I grabbed a chilli sack floating on the water. The river was too big to swim. Soon enough another vessel threw a rope at me."

Boats are the main form of travel in Bangladesh's remote rural areas and accidents are common due to lax safety standards and overloading.

In April last year 32 people were killed after a passenger vessel sank in the Meghna river after colliding with a cargo ship. At least 85 people drowned in 2009 when an overloaded triple-decker ferry capsized off Bhola Island in the country's south.

Naval officials have said more than 95 percent of Bangladesh's hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized boats do not meet minimum safety regulations.
 

Date created : 2012-03-14

  • BANGLADESH

    Dozens killed after overcrowded boat capsizes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)