At least 30 bodies, including three children, have been recovered by divers in Bangladesh after a passenger ferry sank in a river after a collision, an official said Monday.
Dozens are still missing as rescue operations continue in the Buriganga River, which flows past the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.
Firefighters, the coast guard, and naval police units have joined rescue efforts.
“The passenger ferry capsized Monday morning after colliding with another vessel,” Fire Service Control Room Officer Rozina Islam told Anadolu Agency, confirming the death toll.
However, officials could not confirm how many passengers were on board at the time of the accident. Local media, quoting eyewitnesses and police, put the figure at about 100.
Visiting the ferry terminal, Khalid Mahmud, Bangladesh’s state minster for shipping, assured that the state would provide funds for funerals plus compensation for the victims’ families.
Citing CCTV footage of the incident, Mahmud said “it appears to be a killing rather than an accident,” local Somoy TV reported.
He added that the ministry has formed a seven-member commission to do an investigation.
Search and rescue operations are being done manually as the rescue ship owned by the Bangladesh Inland Water Authority could not reach the site of the accident near the terminal.
A local passenger rights group, Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, issued a statement blaming sloppy work at the water terminal for the accident.