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Many dead, missing in ferry crash

Collision with oil tanker plunged sleeping passengers into river reporter, Munshiganj

March 13, 2012

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At least 15 people have died and hundreds more are missing after a passenger ferry carrying an estimated 300 passengers capsized on the Meghna river this morning after colliding with an oil tanker. Authorities have said the Dhaka-bound MV Shariatpur-1 struck the oil tanker at about 2:30 am in the Gojaria sub-district of Munshiganj, about 32 kilometers south of the capital. About 30 passengers were rescued with help from a second ferry, the MV Mitali, and another 40 passengers swam to safety. Rescuers pulled 15 bodies, including women and children, from the river. Survivors have said they fear the death toll will rise because most passengers were asleep at the time of the accident. “Coast guards and fire service have started rescue operations, and the rescue ship Rustom has reached the site of the accident,” said Khandaker Shamsuzzaman, chairman of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. He added that the ferry had been located about 70 feet downriver from the site of the collision. “It was a very difficult task for the administration to trace the ferry, as the accident happened at night,” said deputy police commissioner Azizul Alam.
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