The death toll from a boat crash in Bangladesh rose to 22 on Saturday while the search and rescue operations are underway for the second consecutive day as many passengers are believed to be still missing.
The incident happened on Friday evening when a passenger boat collided with two sand-laden bulkheads coming from the opposite direction in the eastern Brahmanbaria district of Chittagong.
“Total 22 dead bodies were recovered as of Saturday morning from the tragedy site. The search and rescue efforts are being made for the second day as we fear that some people are still missing,” local police superintendent Md Anisur Rahman told Anadolu Agency.
They have already handed 21 bodies to the victims’ families, he added.
“The district police have also arrested five people, including drivers, owner and other staff of the two sand-laden trawlers. A case is under process to be lodged in this regard,” the police official said.
Meanwhile, the transportation through the water route was suspended on Saturday following the collision.
The ill-fated boat was carrying over 100 passengers, Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner Hayat Ud Dowlah Khan told Anadolu Agency.
He said that a three-member committee had already been formed to investigate the incident, while the government will provide compensation to the victims’ families.
The incident happened on the transboundary Titas River in Brahmanbaria. The passenger-packed vessel had reached a marsh that connected to the waterway when it hit another boat at the entry point.
Subsequently, the passenger boat lost control, colliding with two cargo vessels coming from the opposite direction.
Locals, fire services and divers have been conducting rescue operations. District administration and police officials are also present on site.
The South Asian delta is a riverine region crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers. Thousands of people, mostly from the country’s south, use the waterways as a connection to the capital Dhaka and other districts.
Seasonal natural calamities, such as storms and cyclones, as well as unfit or overloaded vessels and unskilled drivers are among the main causes of such accidents.