At least 31 are killed in Bangladesh ferry disaster

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At least 31 people were killed and some were missing after a boat packed with Hindu devotees sank on Sunday in Bangladesh, officials said on Monday, in the worst waterways disaster to hit the country in more than a year.

The bodies recovered so far included 16 women and 10 children, said Jahurul Islam, district administrator of northern Panchagarh, where the accident occurred.

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“Six more bodies were recovered this morning while divers are searching for more bodies,” he said, adding the ferry was mostly taking devotees to a Hindu temple on the occasion of Mahalaya, when Hindus make offerings to their ancestors.

Islam said the authorities was compiling the list of the missing based on information provided by the relatives, while passengers said more than 70 people had been on the boat, which suddenly tilted and sank in the middle of the Karatoya river.

A five-member committee has been investigating the incident, but they suspect overcrowding caused the accident, he said.

Police said some of the passengers managed to swim ashore or were rescued.

Hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that has extensive inland waterways and lax safety standards.

At least 34 people died in April 2021 after an overcrowded ferry collided with a cargo vessel and sank on the Shitalakhsya River outside the capital Dhaka.

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