The death toll in a ferry collision in central Bangladesh has soared to 69, after more bodies were recovered from the overcrowded boat that sank within minutes of colliding with a cargo vessel.
A salvage vessel fitted with a crane raised the sunken ferry from the water, allowing the divers from the navy and fire department to search inside the small two-deck boat, inspector Abdul Muktadir said on Monday.
Rescue workers recovered more bodies, working through the night, a day after the collision on the Padma river which is one of the largest in the delta nation.
“This morning the bodies were found in the boat after it was raised and dragged to the shore. The death toll is now 69,” Mr Muktadir said.
“The boat was salvaged 16 hours after it sank.
“ The toll would rise further as the rescue workers could only search one part of the MV Mostofa boat which was lying at a tilt onshore. The other parts would be searched once the ferry is righted.”
The sinking is the second deadly boat accident in a fortnight in the country, which has a history of ferry tragedies.
The government ordered a probe into the incident but the shipping minister, Shahjahan Khan, said the collision occurred as the boat was “in a race” with other vessels.
Officials said they did not know the exact number of people missing, but passengers said up to 150 people had been on board, while local police chief Rakibuz Zaman said 50 of those swam ashore or were rescued by other vessels.
Hundreds of people, including relatives of the missing, thronged the shore as rescuers searched inside the salvaged vessel and brought out the bodies.