Death toll from boat sinking in Bangladesh rises to 69

Baku, September 29, AZERTAC

Some 69 bodies had been recovered, while three passengers were still missing after a jampacked boat capsized on Sunday in a northern Bangladesh district, an official said Thursday, according to Xinhua.

Sujoy Kumar Roy, officer-in-charge of Panchagarh's Boda Police station, told Xinhua that the boat had been recovered, but the search for the victims was ongoing.

He said no fewer than three passengers were still missing.

According to the official, the death toll from Sunday's boat sinking incident in the Panchagarh district, 468 km away from the capital Dhaka, rose to 69 on Wednesday, after another body was retrieved from the Karatoya river.

Of the victims, he said 31 were women, 21 were children, and 17 were men.

SM Sirajul Huda, superintendent of Panchagarh District Police, earlier said, "the jam-packed boat, carrying some 100 passengers, mostly Hindu devotees, overturned due to overloading and sank minutes after it sailed from a terminal on Sunday afternoon."

The boat was travelling to a temple on the occasion of Mahalaya, a Hindu festival.

Dipankar Roy, a senior official of the Panchagarh district administration, said that members from police, fire services and district administrations were searching for the missing.

He said a decision would soon be taken as to how long the search operation would be continued.

The Bangladeshi government has already formed a probe committee, which was asked to submit a report in three days.

However, Md Juhurul Islam, the district's administration chief, told reporters on Wednesday that the committee sought more time for submitting the report as some of them were still engaged in the rescue operation.

He said they had granted the committee three more days to submit the report.

Ferry is still a key means of transport in the South Asian country, which is crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers. Ferry and boat disasters are common in Bangladesh as the vessels are often overcrowded.

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