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Death toll reaches 112 after sunken ferry salvaged in Bangladesh; still many missing
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) ' Rescue workers found more bodies Wednesday inside the salvaged wreckage of a Bangladesh ferry that capsized with about 200 people on board, bringing the death toll to 112.
The ferry collided with a cargo boat and capsized early Tuesday, sending scores of people into the Meghna River, just south of Dhaka. Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said about 35 survivors were plucked from the water, while local media reported that another 40 managed to swim to shore.
Rescue workers and divers called off the search late Wednesday after raising the wreckage, but police planned to stay in the area.
"There are no more bodies inside the ferry but police will remain deployed to check if there are any more bodies around," Khan said.
The death toll climbed to 112 late Wednesday after villagers and rescuers found more bodies inside the ferry and floating in nearby waters, said rescue official Mahfuzul Haque. Divers had recovered 31 bodies inside the sunken vessel the day before, and efforts to move the ferry had shaken more loose.
Rescuers earlier reported that 114 bodies had been recovered, but then revised the figure to 112.
The dead included a young woman found cradling her lifeless baby, Khan said.
Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation that is crisscrossed by more than 230 rivers. They are often blamed on overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules. In 2009, about 150 people died in three ferry accidents.
Hundreds of anxious people, many of them weeping, gathered near the scene of the accident to look for their loved ones. Some were angry, saying they blamed local authorities for the slow pace of the rescue operation.
Parul, who goes by one name, said she had been waiting at the shore since Tuesday night for news of her newly married brother, who was returning on the ferry with 16 others from his wedding party.
She said only four of the 17 had apparently survived. Two bodies had been recovered, but the bridegroom and others were still missing.
"Bring my brother back, give them all back," Parul wailed as she beat her chest. "I want to see their faces, please take me to them."
Khan could not specify how many people were still missing, but said many were feared dead. Ferry operators rarely keep an accurate list of passengers and most people buy tickets once on board.
The MV Shariatpur-1 was traveling to Dhaka from Shariatpur district to the southwest. The accident occurred in Munshiganj district, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Dhaka.
Associated Press writer Julhas Alam contributed to this report.