Bangladesh ferry accident kills 24, dozens missing

DHAKA: At least 24 people were killed and several more were missing Sunday after an overcrowded boat carrying Hindu pilgrims capsized in a river in Bangladeshpolice said.
“Firefighters and divers are searching for more bodies,” said local police official Shafiqul Islam told AFP, confirming that there have been 24 deaths so far, most of them women and children.
Police say the boat can accommodate up to 50 pilgrims.
They were heading to a centuries-old temple when the ship suddenly capsized and sank in the middle of the Karotoa River near the town of Boda in northern Bangladesh.
Another police officer said up to 25 people were still missing.
Local media said at least 10 people were rescued and taken to hospital.
Mobile phone footage broadcast by Channel 24 television showed the overloaded boat suddenly capsizing, dumping its passengers into the murky brown river.
Dozens of people standing about 20 meters from the shore started shouting and screaming. The weather was quite mild at that time.
Thousands of Hindus in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh visit the Bodeshwari Temple each year.
Sunday marks the beginning of Durga PujaThe biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh – and also in eastern India – draws huge crowds at the temple.
The incident is the latest in a string of similar tragedies in the interlaced river delta.
Experts in the South Asian country of 170 million people blame poor maintenance, lax safety standards at shipyards and overcrowding.
Last December, more than 40 people were killed when a packed three-decker ferry caught fire in the south of the country.
The fire broke out early in the morning when most of the passengers were sleeping near the rural town Jhakakathi250 km (160 miles) south of the capital Dhaka.
A ferry sank in Dhaka last June after colliding with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.
And at least 78 people died in February 2015 when an overloaded ship collided with a cargo ship in a river west of the capital.

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