Dhaka, July 9 (Reuters): About 400 people were feared drowned in Bangladesh when an overcrowded ferry sank after being sucked into a whirlpool in a rain-swollen river, officials said.
The double-decker Nasreen was on its way from Dhaka to the southern town of Barisal when it nose-dived into the Meghna river at Chandpur, 170 km southeast of the capital, just before midnight yesterday.
There was no official word on how many people were on board, but police quoted survivors as saying the ferry was carrying at least 600 passengers, double the licensed capacity, plus cargo it was not permitted to carry. Only 200 survived, they said.
One man said he was travelling on the roof of the vessel and dived off when it began to sink. “The ferry turned aside suddenly. Within moments it started nose-diving and I jumped into the river,” said Samir Chandra Adhikari. He said he had to swim more than 100 metres to the river bank.
Baktiar Alam, police superintendent of Chandpur, said the ferry sank at 1700 GMT yesterday with more than 600 people on board.