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Police: 10 dead, dozens missing after ferry packed with 200 people sinks in Bangladesh river
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) ' A ferry packed with about 200 people capsized in a river in southern Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing 10 people and leaving dozens more missing, authorities said.
Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said about 35 people were rescued after the ferry sank on the Meghna River after colliding with a cargo boat early in the morning. Divers have recovered 10 bodies from inside the sunken ferry, he said.
"The death toll is likely to rise as more bodies are feared trapped inside," Khan said.
He said the dead included a young woman, found cradling her baby's lifeless body.
The MV Shariatpur-1 was traveling to the capital, Dhaka, from neighboring Shariatpur district to the southwest. The accident site is in Munshiganj district, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Dhaka.
Dulal Dewan, a survivor, described a scene of chaos as the ferry collided with the other ship.
"I was awakened with a big jolt," said the businessman, who was asleep on the top deck. "I jumped into the river in darkness as the ferry started going down."
"In minutes there were screams all around," he said. "People were shouting for help."
Dewan said he was rescued by a nearby boat.
Estimates varied as to how many people were on board the ferry.
Khan put the number at close to 200, while Dewan told reporters that about 300 people were on board when the double-deck ferry sank.
It is difficult to get a reliable estimate as ferry operators rarely keep a list of passengers. Most passengers buy tickets once on board.
Abdul Gani Akhand, 75, was among the survivors.
"I was sleeping and I really don't know how I survived," he said, shivering as a rescue worker ferried him to a hospital.
Azizul Alam, the area's government administrator, said an investigation has been ordered into the cause of the accident.
Ferry accidents, often blamed on overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules, are common in Bangladesh, a low lying delta nation of 160 million people.