At least 50 missing as trawler capsizes in Bangladesh (Lead)

February 19th, 2009 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 19 (Xinhua) At least 50 people were missing Thursday when a passenger trawler capsized on a river in Bangladesh’s southern Barisal district, the police said.
Earlier reports said that at least 100 people were missing when the trawler carrying 150 people capsized on the Kirtonkhola River.

District police chief Tawfiq Mahbub Chowdhury said Thursday the trawler carrying 150 people capsized on the Kirtonkhola river after it rammed into a cargo vessel from behind at around 6.50 a.m.

“Initially it seemed that around 100 people were missing but now we have been confirmed that only around 50 passengers of the ferry remained missing,” he said, adding that some more passengers were found alive from the nearby areas.

Police officer Sekandar Ali said on telephone from the accident site that many of the missing people are feared drowned in the river. A rescue ship has already started its operation. Only one body that of a woman has been pulled out of the water so far.

He said low visibility due to the dense fog might have caused the accident.

Rafiqul Islam, deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), who is in-charge of the rescue operation, said the river is about 30 to 35 feet deep in that part of the area.

Boat accidents are common in Bangladesh, with some 250 rivers criss-crossing the country; it is a major mode of transport for many.

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