Bangladesh ferry accident kills at least 26

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A Bangladesh ferry carrying around 50 passengers collided with a cargo vessel and sank on Sunday in the Shitalakhsya River south of the capital Dhaka, leaving at least 26 people dead and a few still missing, officials said.

Twenty-one bodies were recovered on Monday. The ferry sank just after it departed from the industrial Narayanganj district about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Dhaka, to Munshiganj, said Mustain Billah, Narayanganj district administrator.

“Most of the bodies were found inside the sunken boat after it was dragged to the bank,” he said, adding a few still could be missing.

Police and officials said some of the passengers managed to swim ashore.

Relatives gathered at the river bank to search for their loved ones. Rescuers, including divers from the fire brigade, were searching for survivors on Monday, while salvage operations were hampered by a storm last night.

The boat was packed with people rushing to leave the city after the government announced a week-long nationwide lockdown from Monday to tackle a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Bangladesh reported a record daily jump of 7,087 coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking its total number of cases to 637,364 with 9,266 deaths.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan was “deeply saddened by the loss of precious lives” in the incident.

It extended “heartfelt condolences” to the government and people of Bangladesh and the bereaved families.

Hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that has extensive inland waterways but lax safety standards.

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