Barisal – Rescuers have wrapped up the search operation in Sayndha River with the death toll from Wednesday’s boat capsize rising to 27 in southern Bangladeshi district of Barisal, police said on Friday.
The rescuers retrieved nine bodies from the river on Thursday and early Friday.
An officer at Banaripara Police Station, Ziaul Ahsan said the rescuer from the Fire Service and Civil Defence department found bodies inside the main hull of the vessel and floating on the river.
The engine-propelled boat, ML Oishi, carrying roughly 60 passengers on board sank near Dasherhaat station when it was about to anchor on Wednesday. Most of the passengers managed to swim ashore. It was initially assumed some 20 people went missing after the accident.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority rescue vessel ‘Nirvik’ salvaged the sunken ferry on Thursday.
Most of the victims are women and children who trapped inside the vessel, said an official supervising the rescue operation.
Earlier on Wednesday, the rescuers found 14 bodies after the vessel sank in Banaripara sub-district, located nearly 110 kilometres south of the capital Dhaka. Four more bodies were found on Thursday morning.
The reason behind the accident could not be determined immediately, but an official at Barisal Port Authority said that the boat was overcrowded when it sank. The motor launch did not have route permit to ply on the river routes.
The government launched an investigation into the accident. A nine-member committee will determine the reason behind the tragedy. The committee was asked the report in seven days time.
Lax monitoring and overcrowding of ferries cause frequent accidents on river routes in deltaic Bangladesh criss-crossed by more than 300 rivers.
At least 70 people died after a double-deck ferry hit by a cargo vessel capsized in a river of central Bangladeshi district of Manikganj in February 2015.
Forty-nine people were confirmed dead and unknown number of passengers remained missing after a ferry carrying more than 200 passengers sank in Padma River in August 2014 while dozens others were killed in another accident in May of the year.
Nearly 150 people were killed in March 2012 after an overcrowded ferry carrying about 200 passengers sank in a river of central Munshiganj district when it was hit by an oil tanker in the middle of the night.