At least 32 people have died and dozens are missing after a boat carrying Hindu pilgrims capsized in a river in northern Bangladesh, police said on Monday. The boat was over capacity.
District police chief Sirajul Huda said seven more bodies were recovered by rescuers wading in the Karotova River near the northern town of Boda, where the boat capsized on Sunday.
Mr. According to Huda, the boat had about 90 people “triple its capacity”.
“Sixty people are still missing,” he told AFP.
“It rained heavily in the morning, that’s why (…) devotees flocked to the boat to reach the temple quickly”, Mr. Huda narrated.
‘The boatman asked some people to disembark to lighten the load. But no one listened.
According to local media, at least ten people have been rescued and hospitalized.
Mobile phone footage, broadcast by television channel 24, shows the heavily laden boat suddenly overturning, throwing passengers into the muddy waters of the river.
A long list of disasters
Seeing this scene, dozens of people on the shore about 20 meters away started screaming. The weather was calm during the tragedy.
Thousands of Hindus from Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the Bodeswari temple every year. Sunday marked the start of Durga Puja, a major Hindu festival in Bangladesh – as in eastern India – that draws huge crowds to temples.
The accident extends a long list of comparable disasters in this country of 170 million people, poor and crossed by many rivers.
The tragedies associated with shipping accidents are mainly blamed on lack of maintenance, lax safety standards and overcrowding on board.
Last December, more than 40 people died when an overcrowded ferry caught fire in the south of the country.
The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning near the rural town of Jagakathi, about 250 kilometers south of the capital Dhaka, while most travelers were sleeping.
In June 2021, at least 32 people were killed when a boat collided with another vessel and sank in Dhaka.
At least 78 people died in February 2015 when a ferry collided with a cargo ship in a river west of the capital.
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