DHAKA, Bangladesh – A collision between a freighter and a small ferry killed 27 people and left more than a dozen people swimming for their lives in Bangladesh late on Sunday, the latest in a long history of rail disasters. busiest rivers in the country.
Most of the dead were trapped inside the ferry after it was struck by the huge freighter while crossing a river in central Bangladesh and then capsized, authorities said.
The bodies of 21 passengers were recovered from the ferry after an 11-hour rescue operation to lift the ship out of the water, said Golam Sadeq, chairman of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. The bodies of six other passengers were recovered off the ferry and 19 passengers were rescued after swimming from the ship, authorities said.
Video taken from the riverside showed the cargo ship entering the ferry, lifting it out of the water and throwing the passengers into the stream. Hundreds of people gathered to witness the rescue operation, which was assisted by local residents. The cries of relatives filled the air as they desperately sought to know the fate of their loved ones.
Mustain Billah, deputy commissioner for the Naryanganj district, east of the capital Dhaka, said he had opened an investigation into the cause of the collision. He said police, the military and the Inland Water Transport Authority were searching for the freighter.
Mr. Sadeq said authorities were unable to stop the ship immediately after the collision due to bad weather.
Hundreds of people have died in accidents on the rivers of Bangladesh in recent decades. More than 30 people drowned in June after two ferries collided in Dhaka. In 2015, a cargo ship collided with a ferry east of the capital, killing 69 people. In 2014, an overloaded ferry capsized in the Padma River, killing more than 100 people.