Bangladesh ferry accident kills 25, several missing

DHAKA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - At least 25 people were killed and dozens were missing after a boat packed with Hindu devotees sank on Sunday in Bangladesh, a local official said, in the worst waterways disaster to hit the country in more than a year.

The bodies recovered so far included 12 women and eight children, said Jahurul Islam, district administrator of northern Panchagarh, where the accident occurred.

"The rescue operation for those missing is ongoing," he said, adding the ferry was taking mostly devotees to a Hindu temple on the occasion of Mahalaya.

Islam said he did not know the exact number of people missing, but passengers said more than 70 people had been on the boat, which sank in the Karatoya river.

A committee has been formed to investigate the incident, he said.

Police said nearly 20 people were still missing while some of the passengers managed to swim ashore or were rescued.

Hundreds of people die each year in ferry accidents in Bangladesh, a low-lying country that has extensive inland waterways and lax safety standards.

At least 34 people died in April last year after an overcrowded ferry collided with a cargo vessel and sank on the Shitalakhsya River outside the capital Dhaka.

Reporting by Ruma Paul Editing by Peter Graff and Susan Fenton

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