Friday, May 20, 2005

40 Missing in Boat Accident

Last Update: Friday, May 20, 2005. 8:21am (AEST) 40 missing in Bangladesh boat accident A boat with about 100 people on board has sunk in a river in southern Bangladesh during a severe storm, the third such accident in five days. Police say the boat has disappeared in the turbulent Meghna river estuary to the Bay of Bengal, about 325 kilometres south of the capital Dhaka. They say most of the people on board have either been rescued or swam to safety, but nearly 40 people are missing. At least 33 people died and 120 are still missing after a ferry sank in the river Jamuna during a storm earlier this week. Last weekend, at least 60 people were killed and 30 went missing when a passenger ferry sank in a river south of Dhaka. The twin-decker MV Raipura went down with 200 passengers in the Jamuna river at Aricha, about 100 km west of the capital Dhaka, in a tropical storm on Tuesday. "Barring a miracle, it is quite unlikely that anyone would survive so long under water," Mohammad Abu Yusuf, a police officer monitoring the rescue, said. Efforts to refloat the ferry began on Thursday after rescue vessel MV Rustam, delayed by bad weather, arrived with divers. Public anger was growing in impoverished Bangladesh. "Do something to speed up the rescue process," one man shouted. "Don't come up with another excuse or put the blame on the weather alone." Bangladesh has a shocking record of ferry accidents and hundreds of people die each year despite repeated Government promises to better legislate the industry. Much of Bangladesh's vast ferry fleet has little or no safety equipment, and operators and owners often neglect weather forecasts and shipping rules. -Reuters Print Email

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