At least 26 people were killed when a speedboat full of passengers collided with a ship carrying sand in the latest maritime disaster to hit Bangladesh.
Police say the speedboat carrying around three dozen passengers from Mawa town sank into the other ship in the Padma River as it neared the main waterway station in the central rural town. by Shibchar.
“We have so far recovered 26 bodies, including a woman. We also rescued five injured people, including three children, ”said police chief Amir Hossain.
Hossain said the bow of the passenger boat was destroyed when the speedboat crashed into the side of the transport vessel, sinking in the river within minutes.
“Police, firefighters and army rescue teams are on site, performing search and rescue,” he said.
Abdur Rahman, who witnessed the crash, said there was a loud noise when the boats collided and the boats then overturned.
“When we rushed to the scene, we found the speedboat torn into two pieces. Hundreds of villagers immediately started carrying out rescue operations before being joined by police and firefighters, ”he said.
Bangladesh is building the country’s largest road and rail bridge near the crash site and police said officers were at the scene immediately.
Construction work has slowed down ferry transport on the river, prompting many to make the trip on less safe speedboats, which only take around 15 minutes to make the crossing, compared to up to two. hours on safer ferries.
The administrator of the Shibchar district government said up to five people are reported missing.
He said the driver of the speedboat would be investigated as he appeared to have struck the transport vessel, which was moored at the time.
“An investigation has been ordered into the accident,” he said.
Shipping accidents are common in Bangladesh, a delta nation crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers. Experts blame poor maintenance, lax safety standards in shipyards and overcrowding for many accidents.
Ships carrying sand are low in the water and can be difficult to see in rough conditions, especially in low light.
In February 2015, at least 78 people died when an overcrowded ship collided with a freighter.