(Updates toll, adds fresh quotes, including survivor's)
DHAKA May 15 A Bangladeshi ferry with around
200 passengers on board capsized in a storm on a river near the
capital Dhaka on Thursday, with police reporting that at least
nine bodies had been recovered, but there were fears that the
toll would climb.
"We fear there will be more bodies inside the vessel and we
cannot be sure of the number of passengers (on board)," Saiful
Hassan Badal, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj district told
Reuters by telephone from the scene of the accident.
The M.V. Miraj-4 ferry capsized in high winds and rain in
the Meghna river at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27
kilometres from Dhaka. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm
(0930 GMT). The ferry had been going to Shariatpur from Dhaka.
Some survivors were able to swim ashore, despite strong
currents and high waves whipped up by the storm.
"There was a sudden storm and we requested the boat-swain to
anchor at the river side but he ignored us...and all on a sudden
the ferry capsized within a few seconds" said Abdur Rahman, 50,
a passenger who had managed to swim ashore.
A rescue vessel sent from Dhaka reached the stricken ferry
some three hours later, and Saiful said firefighters and members
of the coast guard, including divers were involved in search
So far nine bodies had been recovered, including those of
women and children, according to Oliur Rahman, a police officer
at the scene.
Bangladesh has a sorry history of ferry disasters, with
casualties sometimes running into hundreds due to overcrowding.
(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)