At least six people dead in Bangladesh ferry accident

At least six people have died after a cargo vessel hit a ferry carrying dozens of people along a river outside Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

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, on Sunday.

Rescue workers from the Fire Service and Civil Defence department found the bodies of two children, two women and a man in the water. Another victim died at a hospital.

Police said nearly two dozen people managed to swim ashore after the MV Ruposhi-9 inland cargo carrier ran over the MV Afsaruddin.

Footage aired by local media showed people shouting in alarm and jumping into the waterway as the boat quickly sank.

District administrator Monjurul Hafiz said coast guard personnel and divers were assisting with rescue efforts.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, with experts blaming poor maintenance, lax safety standards and overcrowding.

According to official records, more than 3,600 people died and nearly 500 went missing in more than 550 accidents on waterways in Bangladesh between 1991 and 2020.

In December, nearly 50 people were killed and more than 70 injured when a ferry caught fire in the southern rural town of Jhalokati.

A ferry sank in Dhaka in June 2020 after a collision with another vessel, killing dozens of people. At least 78 people died in February 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.