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At Least 25 Die in Bangladesh Ferry Accident

December 12, 1999|From Times Wire Services

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A ferry packed with more than 300 people sank in southern Bangladesh on Saturday, killing at least 25 people and leaving as many as 100 missing, officials said.

The double-decker ferry Falguni went down in the Meghna River near the island town of Bhola, 65 miles south of the capital, Dhaka. The Meghna is one of the biggest rivers in Bangladesh and is about 15 miles wide in some places.

The boat was carrying double its capacity when it was buffeted by the wake of a ship heading in the opposite direction, said the area's police chief, Abu Bakr Siddique.

Local fishermen rescued about 150 passengers who had jumped overboard, and an additional 50 people swam ashore, Bhola government administrator Gullal Singh said. Rescue work was suspended as night fell. Officials feared that many of the missing were dead.

A salvage ship from Dhaka was on its way to the accident site, state-run Bangladesh television reported. Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed mourned the dead and ordered officials to step up the search for the missing, according to television reports.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, which is crisscrossed by hundreds of small streams and rivers.

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