About 40 people swam to shore and 35 were rescued after the
double-decker ferry went down in the Meghna river near the
capital Dhaka during a storm on Thursday, police and rescue
Forty-five bodies have been recovered so far, according to
officials in the Munshiganj district, and authorities have given
up hope of finding anyone else alive.
An official of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority
(BIWTA) said that the M.V Miraj 4 ferry had capacity for 122
passengers, but according to several survivors and a district
administrative official the number on board was almost double,
though there was no log kept.
The hull of the stricken vessel was visible above the surface on
Saturday, and divers had attached chains to one side in order
for a crane to pull the ferry right side up, BIWTA Chairman
Shamsuddoha Khandker told journalists.
The task is expected to be completed later in the day, which
will make it easier for divers to retrieve the missing victims.
"It is unclear just how many bodies are inside the wreck, but
once the vessel is recovered we will get a clearer picture,"
said one diver, who gave his name as Liton, while waiting to be
called into action.
Grieving relatives thronged the river bank, many wailing in
distress, as the salvage work continued. Hungry and enduring the
summer heat, the bereaved also held protests to vent frustration
at the slow pace of the rescue work.
Mohammad Hossain, a director of BIWTA said that the ferry was
stuck in an underwater trench and he hoped to have the vessel
hauled ashore within few hours.
"We are hopeful to rescue the ferry by midday today," said
Saiful Islam Badal, deputy commissioner of Munshiganj told
Khandker told journalists late Friday that under the salvage
operation luggage and cargo would be removed before the ferry
was hauled to the shore.
Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack
safety standards, has an appalling record of ferry accidents,
with casualties sometimes running into the hundreds.
Overcrowding is a common factor in many of these accidents and
each time the government vows to toughen regulations.
In March 2012, a ferry sank near the same spot, killing at least
The district administration of Munshiganj has decided to give
20,000 taka ($256) to each of the families of a deceased.
(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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