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Ferry with 250 passengers sinks in Bangladesh

Dhaka: An overcrowded ferry with up to 250 passengers onboard today sank in the Padma river in central Bangladesh, officials said.

They said strong current in the turbulent river apparently upturned ferry which was carrying nearly double the number of passengers than its capacity this morning in Munshiganj area.

"Two bodies were retrieved so far while some 45 passengers were rescued alive by vessels and speedboats which were plying nearby rescued immediately after the accident," a police official told PTI from the scene by phone.

Munshiganj Police chief Tofazzal Hossain said some of the passengers could swim to safety but many were feared trapped or drowned.

The private Samoy and other TV channels said the navy and fire service divers joined the rescue campaign but the inclement weather made the situation difficult to search for more bodies or passengers as the river remained very rough.

The accident took place when the ferry was on its way to mawa terminal starting from Kewrakandi of southwestern Madaripur.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority officials said a salvage vessel was directed to reach the site as soon as possible to retrieve the sunken boat Pinak-6. The accident occurred nearly three months after a boat capsized in the same area killing 50 people.

Ferry accidents are common in riverine Bangladesh criss- crossed by some 230 river especially in the southern and northeastern regions while faulty design of boats and ferries alongside poor safety standards are generally blamed for the disasters.

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