Bangladesh ferry capsizes with 250 passengers on board


A ferry carrying up to 250 passengers sank on Monday on a river in central Bangladesh, local authorities said.

The accident happened on Monday morning as the ferry was crossing the River Padma in Munshiganj district in the central part of the country about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Dhaka, according to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Chairman Samsuddoha Khondaker.

"We have heard that the ferry was overloaded with passengers and the river was rough," police chief Tofazzal Hossain told AFP. He said some of the passengers would have been able to swim to safety but many were feared trapped or drowned, adding that 50 passengers had been rescued so far.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh due to poor safety standards for the vessels, which are often overloaded.

In May, about 50 people died in a ferry accident in the same district.

Bangladesh, one of Asia's poorest nations, is criss-crossed by more than 230 rivers and boats are the main form of travel, especially in the southern and northeastern regions.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)