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At least 26 killed as Bangladesh passenger boat capsizes

A speedboat carrying about 30 passengers overturned after hitting a sand-laden cargo boat in a Bangladeshi river Monday, leaving at least 26 people dead, an official said.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published May 03,2021

At least 26 people were killed in a collision between a passenger-packed speedboat and a sand-laden bulkhead in central Bangladesh on early Monday, an official confirmed.

"After getting the information we rushed to the spot and till now we have recovered 26 dead bodies and five alive passengers. We are still continuing the rescue operations along with fire services," local police chief Miraj Hossain told Anadolu Agency.

The incident happened on the Padma River in the country's central district of Madaripur, around 63 kilometers (39 miles) south of the capital Dhaka as the tiny boat was carrying 31 people, according to Hossain.

Locals and fire service personnel are conducting rescue operations with the presence of local police.

He added that the rescued passengers have been shifted to a local hospital while the dead bodies will be sent to a morgue for autopsy.

"The accident took place as the passenger boat mistakenly hit the sand-laden bulkhead that was moored there," Hossain added.

Earlier, on April 4 this year, 34 people died as a passenger water vessel collided with a cargo ship on the Shitalakshya River, around 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Dhaka.

On June 29 last year, 34 passengers were also killed in another launch capsize due to a collision between two passenger vessels in the Buriganga River in Dhaka.

The South Asian delta is a riverine country crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers, including some major ones such as the Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna.

Thousands of passengers, mostly from the country's south, use waterways to connect with Dhaka and other districts.

Almost every year, fatal accidents on waterways occur, claiming lives and causing property damage.

According to records of the country's Shipping Department, over 3,600 people died and nearly 500 went missing as a result of the capsizing of more than 550 passenger vessels in 1991-2020.

Seasonal natural calamities such as storms and cyclones, vessel fitness issues, unskilled drivers, and passenger overload are the main causes of those accidents.