24 dead, dozens missing after passenger boat capsizes in Bangladesh

At least 24 people, including eight children and 12 women, drowned and dozens of others went missing after a passenger boat capsized in Bangladesh’s northern district of Panchagarh on Sunday, officials confirmed.


“With 24 confirmed casualties, we fear the death toll may rise as the rescue operation is still going on,” Sujoy Kumar Roy, officer-in-charge of Boda town police station, told Anadolu Agency.


The number of missing passengers will be confirmed after the rescue operation ends, he added.


The overloaded small passenger boat was carrying over 100 people in the Koratoya River in Boda town. Over 10 passengers of the ill-fated boat were taken to local hospitals while over 70 people were rescued from the incident spot, according to police and local administration.


The boat capsized while it was heading towards a Hindu temple in another area of the district in connection with a Hindu religious festival, said the police.


A local official, Soleman Ali, told the media at the spot the accident occurred due to overcrowding.


President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed condolences to the victims’ families.


According to the records of the Shipping Department of Bangladesh, more than 550 passenger ships capsized between 1991 and 2020, killing over 3,600 people and leaving nearly 500 people missing.


Seasonal natural calamities such as storms and cyclones, foggy weather in winter, lack of vessel fitness, unskilled drivers, and overloading have been identified as the main causes of those accidents.


The South Asian delta nation of nearly 170 million people is a riverine country that has been crisscrossed by above 500 rivers.


Source: Anadolu Agency