(Update 1: updates death toll, adds details)
Dhaka, Sep 26 (EFE).- The number of people killed by a boat capsizing in northern Bangladesh on Sunday has risen to 43, while around 35 people remain missing, the authorities said on Monday.
Rescue teams discovered 18 bodies along the length of the Karatoya river, Dipankar Roy, the deputy chief of administration for the Panchagarh district – where the accident took place – told EFE.
“We found dead bodies in different districts downstream. The body of a child was found 60 km away from” Awaliar Ghat, the riverbank from where the boat had set off at 2.30 pm on Sunday, Roy said.
Most of the 80-odd passengers in the boat were Hindu devotees traveling to a temple in the Debiganj area of Panchagarh district to observe the religious festival of Mahalaya.
However, the vessel capsized after moving just around 20 meters.
The victims include 22 women and 12 children.
“We have some confusion about the missing figure because relatives duplicated some names. After analyzing the accounts of the survivors and the information provided by relatives, we assume some 35 people are still missing,” the deputy chief of administration said.
“It was a small boat in which many people were traveling together,” district police chief Sirajul Huda had told EFE earlier.
Local fire station chief Tushar Kanti Roy told EFE that they resumed rescue work in the morning after suspending it at night due to darkness.
“We are looking for survivors or victims in a 15-kilometer area. It has been nearly 24 hours since the incident. If there are any dead bodies, they should be floating by now,” Tushar said.
Boat accidents occur frequently in Bangladesh, where hundreds of waterways, including the Brahmaputra, Padma and Meghna rivers – all a part of the Ganges delta – are commonly used for transport.
In most cases, the accidents can be attributed to overloading and the poor condition of the vessels.
However, such incidents have considerably reduced over the years due to improvements in weather forecasting and the implementation of new safety regulations.
At least 82 people died in three major boat incidents in Bangladesh in 2021.
Between 2018 and 2021, 462 people died, 315 were injured, and 677 went missing in 326 waterway accidents, according to a study by the Accident Research Institute under the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. EFE