Death toll rises to 70 in Sunday's sinking of passenger ferry
Relatives of missing passengers fear bodies may have been swept downstream
Scores of anxious and angry people waited on the bank of the Padma River on Monday, a day after a deadly ferry accident, amid concerns that some of the bodies have been swept away by currents.
Rescuers from Bangladesh Navy and Fire Service pulled more bodies from the sunken ferry on Monday, raising the death toll to 70.
Police inspector Alamgir Hossain confirmed the death toll included 24 women and 19 children.
The double-decker ferry sank after it was hit by a cargo vessel around midday Sunday, police and witnesses said. Passengers on the ferry’s lower deck may have been trapped.
The boat was packed when it overturned on the Padma River in the Manikganj district north of the capital, Dhaka, local police Chief Bidhan Tripura said. Many of those rescued were passengers on the upper deck who jumped into the river.
“As some people claimed that their relatives are still missing, we’ll continue our search in the river,” the deputy commissioner of Manikganj district, Rashida Ferdouse, told CNN on Monday.
Rescuers, however, fear that those who are still unaccounted for may have drifted downstream and it would be difficult to find their bodies in such a big river.
Ayesha Begum, who was waiting on the river bank, told CNN that her son-in-law was a chef on the ferry. “I’ve found Sohrab’s belongings when the sunken ferry was brought to the shore, but I haven’t found Sohrab,” she said.
Saidur Rahman Benu, who was looking for his missing cousin, was a bit angry. He said many bodies might have been swept away when a salvage vessel tugged the sunken ferry far from the location of the accident.
In August, there was another deadly ferry accident on the same river. Forty-five people died in that accident.
Overcrowding of ferries and poor monitoring systems are persistent problems in Bangladesh, which sees scores of casualties from ferry accidents every year.