Bangladesh Ferry Carrying About 200 People Sinks

Authorities in Bangladesh say an overloaded ferry carrying at least 200 passengers has sunk in central Bangladesh.

Police say about 100 passengers have been rescued since the boat capsized Monday about 30 kilometers south of the capital, Dhaka.

One survivor said the ferry captain abandoned the vessel when strong wind and waves caused it to roll from side to side on the Padma River.

"When the ferry went out of control, due to the wind and current, tilting from one side to another, the ferry driver jumped. As the driver jumped out of the ferry, it was no longer in control and [the ferry] eventually capsized. Among the 350 passengers, about 40 of us managed to swim to shore," said the survivor.

Onlookers and relatives of the missing gathered along the riverbank as rescuers searched for the rest of the passengers. Officials said few details are yet known about the exact cause of the sinking.

People gather on the banks of the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh on Aug. 4, 2014. /AP People gather on the banks of the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh on Aug. 4, 2014. /AP
A similar capsize occurred in May, when 54 bodies were recovered from a vessel that went down with around 200 people on board.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, has an appalling record of ferry accidents, with casualties sometimes running into the hundreds.

Overcrowding is a common factor in many of the accidents and each time the government vows to toughen regulations.

In March 2012, a ferry sank near the same spot, killing at least 145 people.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

VOA News / Aug. 05, 2014 08:04 KST