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Ferry capsizes in Bangladesh river; dozens safe

By Al-Emrun Garjon

LOUHAJONG, Bangladesh (AP) - A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, killing at least two people and probably many more as horrified villagers watched from the shore, authorities said.

It was unclear exactly how many people were on board the M.V. Pinak because ferry operators in Bangladesh rarely maintain passenger lists. Local media said there were about 250 passengers, but the figure could not be immediately confirmed.

Azizul Haque, who was among at least 44 people who survived by swimming to shore, said he jumped overboard when it became clear the ferry was going down.

"The ferry went out of control due to wind and current, tilting from one side to the other," Haque, 30, said. "Then the captain jumped out because he probably understood it was sinking. The river was rough, and there were many passengers on board."

The ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj district, about 44 kilometers (28 miles) south of the capital, Dhaka.

More than four hours after the ferry capsized, authorities said they were still waiting for a larger vessel needed to launch a proper rescue operation. Local police officer Khalid Hossain said two bodies had been recovered so far.

"We are waiting for a big rescue vessel which is on its way," said Nurul Alam Dulal, a local fire official. "It's very difficult to go there at the scene and stay afloat."

Jasim Uddin, 35, was among a crowd of people who watched the vessel go down from the shore, recording it on his cellphone as it disappeared.

When the survivors began to come to shore, he said they were exhausted and panicked.

"One woman swam nearly to shore and was picked up by a speedboat," he said. "She was crying, saying she has two daughters. It was panic. Everyone was praying to God."

As news spread of the accident, about 500 people including relatives of the missing gathered by the water, many of them weeping and holding photos of their loved ones.

Scores of people die in ferry accidents every year in Bangladesh, where boats are a common form of transportation. The Padma is one of the largest rivers in Bangladesh, a delta nation crisscrossed by more than 130 rivers.

Poor safety standards and overcrowding are often blamed for the accidents. In May, about 50 people died in a ferry accident in the same district.

On Monday, the Ministry of Shipping ordered an investigation into the latest tragedy, giving a 10-day deadline.

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Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
stengernc August 04 2014 at 7:51 AM

Over population leads to disaster always. We need birth control before the whole world decends into the pit of hell with conflicts everywhere.

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4 replies
TB August 04 2014 at 7:06 AM

Neat that AOL has a cruise line ad right by this article......

Flag Reply +8 rate up
4 replies
jorwmu August 04 2014 at 9:15 AM

Well golly since they're over populated by a few billion maybe we can bring them all here and give them cell phones, health care, and jobs that "no one" wants to do! Oh wait we have our own problems. BIRTH CONTROL NOW ASIA AFRICA CENTRAL AMERICA

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5 replies
buddwhyzr August 04 2014 at 9:32 AM

Just keep that same headline for next weeks capsizing. They don't seem to grasp the concept of buoyancy.

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1 reply
roseyoungstewart buddwhyzr August 04 2014 at 10:56 AM

River travel there is the easist way to get around, there is no public transportation except in the major cities. There are no damned taxi cabs there. Let them live the way they've lived the past 100 years. Thise rivers are full of hungry Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and big fat hungry snakes.

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2 replies
madkono roseyoungstewart August 04 2014 at 11:14 AM

fat snakes are fat, because they ate already!!! they'd be resting, and you're no concern of theirs!!! but watch out for the skinny ones!!!

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bdgrizcp roseyoungstewart August 04 2014 at 1:11 PM

Hippos kill but don't eat humans, and besides, there are no hippos in Asia anymore, just Africa and a few in South America (escapes from a drug lord's compound), they are reproducing in the wild, the number is around forty and it's likely there will be a lot more in coming years.

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Mike August 04 2014 at 7:54 AM

Birth control could have prevented this.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
6 replies
opticianandy August 04 2014 at 9:04 AM

who cares about them...i sure dont

Flag Reply +4 rate up
10 replies
madkono August 04 2014 at 9:16 AM

ok people, shows over, come back next week for the next overload!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
karen's computer August 04 2014 at 10:51 AM

Prayers and condolences to those that lost their lives and their families.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Carol karen's computer August 04 2014 at 1:22 PM

Karen - I've noticed that amidst all the arguments and nastiness that appear on these blogs daily, yours are always kind, and always highlight your restraint and compassion. You're a better woman than I ... I think you chose the right avatar :)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
patrick Carol August 05 2014 at 12:34 AM

All comments are a waste of time and mine also !!

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michael.k.goodwin August 04 2014 at 9:47 AM

Poster country of abortion and euthanasia !

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
troll1141 michael.k.goodwin August 04 2014 at 10:09 AM

I bet the saltwater Croc's have a good meal !

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2 replies
kms1230 troll1141 August 04 2014 at 10:25 AM

Very callous comment.

Flag +1 rate up
Sue troll1141 August 04 2014 at 1:07 PM

If one bit you, they'd spit you back out because YOU TASTE NASTY!

Flag 0 rate up
bdgrizcp michael.k.goodwin August 04 2014 at 12:54 PM

Bengladesh only allows abortions to save a woman's life.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
SRJimVal2 August 04 2014 at 10:57 AM

Poor safety standards and overcrowding are often blamed for the accidents. In May, about 50 people died in a ferry accident in the same district.
Standards should be changed. A captain that abandons ship before the passengers are taken care of first is a bird brain. I remember the clothes factory that collapsed some time ago. That was terrible also. I feel sorry for people who have to live in a society, where life is so insignificant.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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