Four women die as ferry sank in Bangladesh river, 18 missing

DHAKA: At least four people died and several remain missing after a ferry carrying about 80 passengers capsized on Tuesday in Bangladesh's Panguchi River, police said.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of four female passengers from the river in Bagerhat, 370 kilometers (230 miles) southwest from Dhaka, police said.

Rashedul Alam, a police official from Morelganj in Bagerhat, said a combination of strong currents and overloading caused the ferry to sink.

He added that most of the passengers could swim to safety but at least 18, mainly women and children, are still missing.

A rescue operation involving emergency services and nearby residents saved two women and a child.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, has a terrible track record of ferry accidents and casualties sometimes run into the hundreds.

Overcrowding is a common factor but little is done to improve safety despite government promises to toughen regulations.