By Serajul Quadir
DHAKA, Feb 23 (Reuters) – At least 66 people died when a passenger ferry carrying more than 150 passengers and crew capsized after colliding with a trawler on a river in central Bangladesh on Sunday, police said.
Rescuers managed to save at least 50 passengers and were still searching for more survivors, regional police official Harun-ur Rashid told Reuters on Monday.
Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, suffers regular ferry disasters, with deaths sometimes running into the hundreds.
More than half of the 66 bodies retrieved so far from the river Padma were women and children, Harun said.
Police have seized the trawler and arrested the captain and his two crew, he said.
“The ferry was recovered … and there were 23 bodies inside,” Harun said.
“There might be more bodies trapped inside the ferry and searching is continuing,” he said. Another 43 bodies were pulled from the water earlier on Sunday.
Rescuers from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and Red Cross were still searching the river.
The ferry was heading to Paturia from Daulatdia in Rajbari, located on the opposite bank of the river, about 135 km (85 miles) west of the capital, Dhaka.
Shajahan Khan, the shipping minister, told reporters at the scene that an investigation had been launched.
A similar accident on Feb. 13 killed at least seven passengers in southern Bangladesh. (Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Nick Macfie, Rosalind Russell and Paul Tait)
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