Dhaka, Sep 27 (EFE).- The number of people killed by a boat capsizing recently in northern Bangladesh has risen to 61, while around 10 people remain missing, the authorities said on Tuesday.
The overcrowded boat capsized in the Karatoya river near Awaliar Ghat under Bangladesh’s northern Panchagarh district on Sunday.
Rescue teams discovered 10 bodies along the length of the Karatoya river in the last 24 hours, Dipankar Roy, the deputy chief of administration for the Panchagarh district – where the accident took place – told EFE.
He added that three other bodies found in the river were waiting to be confirmed as boat capsize victims.
At least 10 people now remain missing after the accident, he said.
“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, Roy said the previous day.
Swapan Kumar Roy, a tailoring shop worker, had several members of his family on the boat, including his father and brother-in-law, and now he goes through an agonizing wait for their bodies.
“I have my father and one sister still missing. We found the bodies of three family members, including my brother-in-law Hari Kishore today. It was stuck in mud near the accident spot. This morning it hit the fishing net used by rescuers,” Swapan 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.
Day laborer Narayan Chandra Roy, who lost his seven-year-old daughter in the accident, said the river stays usually calm and no major incident has occurred in the area for years.
“It rained heavily a day before the accident. Perhaps this is why current was strong. But I allowed my daughter to travel with my relatives thinking it normal. If not this river, they had to take a long detour,” he said.
Narayan said his daughter’s body has been found, but one his nieces remained missing.
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 at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. EFE