50 missing in B’desh ferry collision

Dhaka, September 30:

More than 50 people were missing and several injured as two passenger ferries collided in a river in southern Bangladesh early today, a senior official said.

The accident took place at around 3 am in the Bhoga river in Patuakhali district, about 200 km south from Dhaka, when two overcrowded ferries collided head-on, said Sanjoy Chakrabarty, chief executive officer of Dhumki sub-district. Several passengers on board the double decker ferry Manik were injured when it was hit by another double-decker boat, Chakrabarty said, adding that neither of the boats sank after the collision.

He quoted the eyewitnesses as saying that the scared passengers jumped into the river, and more than 50 people went missing. The exact figure of the people missing or injured was not available right now, the official said. However, iTV channel put the figure of missing people at over 100. Chakrabarty said injured passengers were rushed to district hospitals.

According to him, the rescue operation was not yet started because of the strong current of the river.

The passengers on board the boats were heading for their homes to be with their families ahead of the Muslim festival Eid-ul-Fitr that falls on October 1 or 2 depending on the sighting of the new moon.