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Bangladesh Ferry Sinks, Hundreds Feared Drowned
VOA News
09 Jul 2003, 04:12 UTC

Bangladesh authorities say several hundred people are missing and feared drowned after a ferry boat capsized and sank in the Meghna River in the southeastern part of the country.

Local officials say the boat was carrying as many as 700 passengers when it sank late Tuesday near the town of Chandpur, south of the capital, Dhaka. The boat (MV-Nasrin) was on it way from Dhaka to the coastal town of Bhola. They say about 150 people either swam ashore or were rescued by local fishermen.

Authorities have launched a search for the missing passengers.

Survivors say the boat was overcrowded and was also carrying a load of rice and vegetables. Some say the ferry was caught in turbulent waters at the confluence of three rivers (Meghna, Padma and Dakatia) as it approached the Chandpur terminal.

Ferry accidents are frequent in Bangladesh as boat operators often disregard safety regulations, including night travel restrictions during inclement weather.

Heavy monsoon rains have swollen most of the hundreds of rivers in Bangladesh.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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