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26 die in Bangladesh ferry, cargo ship collision

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No fewer than 26 people have died after a ferry carrying 50 passengers collided with a cargo ship in the Shitalakhsya River south of the capital Dhaka.

 

The ferry collided with the vessel and sank, on Sunday, leaving scores dead and several passengers still missing, officials said.

 

Twenty-one bodies had been recovered on Monday. The ferry sank just after it departed from the industrial Narayanganj district about 12 miles from Dhaka bound for Munshiganj, Narayanganj district administrator Mustain Billah said, Mirror UK reports.

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“Most of the bodies were found inside the sunken boat after it was dragged to the bank,” he said, adding a few still could be missing.

 

Police and officials said some of the passengers managed to swim ashore.

 

Heartbroken relatives gathered at the river bank to search for their loved ones following the tragedy.

 

Rescuers, including divers from the fire brigade, were searching for survivors on Monday while salvage operations were hampered by a storm on Sunday night.

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The boat was packed with people rushing to leave the city after the government announced a week-long nationwide lockdown from Monday to tackle a spike in coronavirus cases, according to the Reuters news agency.

 

Bangladesh reported a record daily jump of 7,087 infections on Sunday, taking its total number of cases to 637,364 with 9,266 deaths.

 

Hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that has extensive inland waterways but lax safety standards.

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Last June, another passenger ferry overturned after a collision with another vessel in the Buriganga river near Dhaka.

 

At least 32 people died when the Morning Bird capsized with 50 passengers aboard. Children were among those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

 

Reports said ferry capsizing was frequent in the region due to overcrowding of the vessels and poor safety standards in shipyards that contributed to the boats sinking in poor weather conditions.

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