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Five dead, dozens feared missing in Bangladesh ferry sinking

At least five people are dead and dozens more are believed missing after a bulk carrier crashed into a small ferry in a river near Bangladesh's capital on Sunday.

Fire service and civil defence personnel conduct a rescue operation after a ferry sank in Shitalakshya river in Narayanganj on March 20, 2022. – At least five people are dead and dozens more are believed missing after a bulk carrier crashed into a small ferry in a river near Bangladesh’s capital on March 20. (Photo by Sony RAMANY / AFP)

At least five people are dead and dozens more are believed missing after a bulk carrier crashed into a small ferry in a river near Bangladesh’s capital on Sunday.

Police said nearly two dozen people managed to swim ashore after the MV Ruposhi-9 inland cargo carrier ran over the MV Afsaruddin, southeast of Dhaka.

Footage of the sinking aired by local media showed people shouting in alarm as the cargo vessel collided with the ferry and jumping into the polluted waterway as the boat quickly sank.

“We have recovered five bodies including a man, three women and a child,” local police chief Shah Jaman told AFP.

The ferry was believed to be carrying more than 60 passengers, 22 of whom had safely swum ashore, police inspector Aslam Mia said.

District administrator Monjurul Hafiz said coast guard personnel and divers were assisting with rescue efforts.

A large crowd had gathered on both banks of the Shitalakshya river to watch the search for survivors.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, with experts blaming poor maintenance, lax safety standards and overcrowding.

A ferry sank in Dhaka last June after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.

At least 78 people died in February 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.