At least 10 dead as ferry sinks on Bangladesh river

Overcrowding is a common factor in many of the accidents despite numerous government vows to toughen regulations. Photograph:( Getty )

Dhaka, Bangladesh Sep 21, 2016, 10.29 AM (IST)

At least 10 people were killed after an overcrowded ferry sank on a river in Bangladesh on Wednesday, police said.

"The river bank collapsed and a huge slab of mud fell on the ferry while it was anchored alongside," Ziaul Hasan, a police official in the southern district of Barisal, told Reuters.

"At least 11 people are still unaccounted for and the search operation is under way," he said. 

"The ferry was overcrowded and carrying about 50 people," he said. Some passengers managed to swim ashore after the accident, the officer further said.

Bangladesh has about 230 rivers criss-crossing the country, with ferries being a common mode of transport for people, especially in the southern and northeastern regions.

But there have been several mishaps due to weak and poor maintenance of ferries, and lack of government regulations to avert such dangers.

"Officials have said more than 95 per cent of Bangladesh’s hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized boats do not meet minimum safety regulations," AFP quoted officials as saying.

(WION with input from Reuters)