Dozens missing after ferry capsizes

A ferry packed with about 200 people capsized in a river in southern Bangladesh today, causing deaths and leaving dozens more missing, authorities said.

Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said about 35 people were rescued after the ferry sank on the Meghna River after colliding with a cargo boat. Divers had so far recovered six bodies from inside the sunken ferry, he said.

The accident happened in Munshiganj district, about 20 miles south of the capital Dhaka.

The MV Shariatpur-1 was travelling to Dhaka from neighbouring Shariatpur district to the south west.

Estimates on how many people were on board the ferry varied.

Mr Khan put the number at close to 200, while Dulal Dewan, a survivor, said about 300 people were on board when the ferry sank.

It is difficult to get a reliable estimate as ferry operators rarely keep a list of passengers. Most passengers buy tickets once on board.

Ferry accidents, often blamed on overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules, are common in Bangladesh.

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