At least 21 killed, dozens missing in Bangladesh boat disaster

  • Passenger boat sinks in a lake in the town of Bijoynagar in eastern Bangladesh.
  • Passenger boat reportedly collided with a cargo ship.
  • At least 21 people died in the boat sinking.

Passenger boat reportedly carrying over 60 passengers had sunk in a lake in eastern Bangladesh after colliding with a loaded cargo ship.

At least 21 people were killed and dozens remain missing in an incident that occurred on a lake in the town of Bijoynagar, local officials said.

The cargo ship’s steel tip and the boat collided, causing the passenger vessel to capsize, according to local officials.

Rescuers have recovered 21 bodies including nine women and six children so far, but the officials warn that the death toll will likely rise.

It is unclear how many people were on board at the time of the collision, and exactly how many remain missing. According to a local police official, survivors said about 100 people were on board.

Divers were searching the scene for bodies, and reinforcements had been called in from neighboring towns. Locals also joined the rescue efforts.

Police said at least seven people were taken to a local hospital after they were rescued from the sunken boat.

The disaster area is 51 miles (82km) east of the capital, Dhaka. Local authorities have formed a committee to investigate the accident.

The sinking was the latest in a string of similar incidents in the South Asian country. In April and May, 54 were killed in two separate boat capsizing accidents.

Experts blame poor maintenance, lax safety standards at shipyards and overcrowding for many of the deadly incidents.

In June last year, a ferry sank in Dhaka after it was hit from behind by another ferry, killing at least 32 people. In February 2015, at least 78 people died when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo boat.

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