Disasters & Accidents

Death toll rises to 27 in Bangladesh boat accident

Dhaka, April 5 (efe-epa).- At least 22 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 27, 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.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority director Rafiqul Islam said rescue teams had managed to get hold of the capsized boat and dragged it to the shore around noon on Monday.

“We have pulled out 21 bodies from the boat while one dead body came afloat today. We had recovered five bodies last night. We checked the boat thoroughly, there are no more bodies inside,” Islam told EFE.

Immediately after the accident, some 20 passengers had managed to swim to safety.

“We handed over all 27 bodies to family members. Now there’s no missing complaint. Yet, we used a helicopter to see if there was any other body in the river,” Narayanganj administration chief Mustain Billah told EFE.

On Sunday, Billah had said a 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.

According to the Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh, a total of 313 people were killed and 371 went missing in 183 waterway accidents in the country in 2020. EFE-EPA


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