Children among dozens dead in Bangladesh ferry accident



At least 25 people lost their lives after the boat they were travelling in capsized in a river near the town of Boda in Bangladesh on Sunday.

The incident took place in northern Panchagarh. The passengers aboard the ferry were returning from a temple visit when the boat sank in the Karatoya river.

Some of the people managed to swim ashore but 20 people are still missing. The authorities have only been able to recover the bodies of 12 women and eight children so far.

It is still unclear how many people were on board the ferry, but local media reports claim that the number could have been around 70.

"The rescue operation for those missing is ongoing," said Jahurul Islam, district administrator of northern Panchagarh, per a report in The Independent. A committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

The officer added that the ferry was mainly carrying people to Bodeshwari Temple. Thousands of Hindu devotees visit the temple every year to mark the beginning of Mahalaya, the biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh when prayers are offered to Goddess Durga.

The mobile phone footage that was shared by local news channels showed the boat suddenly tipping over and sinking in the middle of the river as passengers screamed for help while others jumped off to save their lives.

This is not the first such incident to have occurred in the riverine country. Such incidents are a regular occurrence in Bangladesh as waterways are used by thousands of people for their daily commute, mostly to travel to Dhaka from other coastal towns and districts.

According to Anadolu Agency, more than 3,600 people have lost their lives in similar incidents between 1991 and 2020, while another 500 have gone missing over the years.

As many as 34 people were killed after a cargo vessel collided with a ferry carrying dozens of people on the Shitalakhsya River in central Bangladesh earlier this year. At least 49 people lost their lives last December after a ferry carrying nearly 800 passengers caught fire in the southern rural town of Jhalokati.