Dhaka, April 5 (efe-epa) – At least 15 bodies were recovered Monday from the site of a recent boat accident near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, taking the death toll in the incident to 20, according to the authorities.
The incident occurred around 6 pm on Sunday when a boat carrying at least 46 passengers capsized in the Shitalakkhya river in Narayanganj district.
“So far 20 people died in the incident. We got five bodies on the night and took out 15 bodies from the launch today,” Narayanganj fire service chief Abdullah Arefin, who was leading the rescue operation, told EFE.
He added that the toll may be higher as more bodies may could be recovered in the coming hours.
Immediately after the accident, some 20 passengers had managed to swim to safety.
Narayanganj administration chief Mustain Billah on Sunday told EFE that preliminary investigation showed that the boat, heading to central Munishiganj district from Narayanganj, was hit by a lighter cargo vessel before capsizing.
Quoting a survivor, leading Bengali daily Prothom Alo reported that the boat was overcrowded with many people heading to their villages ahead of a lockdown.
Bangladeshi authorities on Sunday formally announced a one-week lockdown starting Monday to try and contain a rapid rise in nationwide Covid-19 cases.
Boat accidents occur frequently in Bangladesh, where hundreds of waterways, including the Brahmaputra, Padma and Meghna Rivers all of which are Ganges delta waterways – 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 been considerably reduced over the years due to improvements in weather forecasting and the implementation of new safety regulations. EFE-EPA