by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
At least 21 people have died after a boat capsized in a river in the eastern Bangladeshi district of Brahmanbaria, police and rescuers said on Saturday.
The engine-propelled boat carrying more than 70 passengers sank after it collided with a sand-laden cargo at Laishka Beel, a large water-body linked to the river Titas, on Friday evening.
Rescuers from the Fire Service and Civil Defence department along with local residents found the bodies of the passengers, mostly women and children, in the water-body.
The accident site is more than 70 kilometers east of the capital Dhaka.
Many of the passengers managed to swim ashore soon after the accident. The boat was en-route to Brahmanbaria town from Champaknagar of the district, said police officer Emranul Islam.
By Saturday morning, the local authorities have handed the bodies to their respective families. The district administration donated 20,000 taka for each of the families of the deceased to complete the rites of the bodies, said Hayat Ud-Dowla Khan, the deputy commissioner of the district.
The local administration also launched an investigation into the accident, asking a three-strong panel to report back in a week, he said.
Three staff members of the sand-laden cargo vessel, which hit the passenger boat, were detained soon after the accident.
Deaths from the boat capsize are common in Bangladesh, a country of many rivers. Experts blame poor safety standards and lax implementation of law for the frequent accidents on river routes.