South Asia

Bangladesh: Scores die as ferry sinks


At least 23 people have died and dozens are missing after a ferry carrying more than 100 passengers capsized in a river in eastern Bangladesh.

The ferry went down after hitting the wreckage of another ferry in the Meghna river in Brahmanbaria, 80km (50 miles) from the capital, Dhaka, police said.

Many passengers were able to swim ashore to safety.

But rescuers said the toll was expected to rise with some passengers believed to be trapped inside the ferry.

Ferry accidents are fairly common on Bangladesh's vast river network and scores are killed every year.

Most are blamed on poor safety standards and overcrowding.

A team of divers from Dhaka was searching for more bodies and survivors. Officials said a second team of divers was on their way from the capital.

"Divers are trying to retrieve more bodies from the sunken ferry," news agency Reuters quoted senior police official Zahurul Islam Khan as saying from the scene.

Anxious relatives and onlookers have gathered at the scene of the accident.

Last June, about a dozen people died after a packed ferry capsized in storms in north-east Bangladesh.

In November 2009, 118 people were killed in two ferry accidents within a week.

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