A collision between a passenger ferry and a cargo vessel in the Shitalakkhya River in central Bangladesh has left eight people dead while at least another 20 individuals remain unaccounted for.
The incident occurred at 14:30 local time on Sunday, March 20, when the bow of the general cargo vessel Rupshi-9 ploughed into the side of the ferry Afsar Uddin near the city of Narayanganj.
Witnesses said some of the ferry’s occupants jumped into the water as their vessel was dragged for over 500 metres before it finally capsized and sank.
Officials confirmed that around 20 people who were on the ferry were able to swim to shore. However, eight bodies, including those of two small children, were subsequently pulled out of the surrounding waters in a search and rescue/recovery operation that continued through to Monday, March 21.
Rescuers are continuing to comb the area for any trace of Afsar Uddin‘s missing passengers and crew.
Local police officials said that the cargo vessel has been seized but that the master had already fled before he could be taken into custody.
After repeated attempts, salvors were finally able to raise the sunken ferry from the bottom of the Shitalakkhya at 05:15 on Monday.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has ordered the indefinite suspension of ferry sailings along the Shitalakkhya as investigators seek to determine the events that led to the collision.
The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!