WORLD 38 dead in Bangladeshi ferry fire

WORLD

38 dead in Bangladeshi ferry fire

Xinhua

12:21, December 24, 2021

DHAKA, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- At least 38 people were killed and 100 others wounded when a ferry caught fire in Bangladesh's Jhalokati district, about 200 km south of capital Dhaka early Friday, a senior official said.

Villagers look at a burnt-out ferry after it caught on fire killing at least 38 people in Jhakakathi, 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Dhaka, on December 24, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Md Nazmul Alam, Jhalokati district's additional deputy commissioner, told Xinhua that the vessel was carrying nearly 1,000 people from Dhaka to Barguna district in southern Bangladesh.

He said the fire broke out in the engine room at about 3:00 a.m. (local time) Friday due to a technical glitch, forcing the Barguna-bound "MV Abhijan-10" vessel to drop anchor on the banks of the Sugandha river.

"Thirty-eight bodies have so far been recovered following the fire accident," he told Xinhua over the phone.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident occurred, said the official.

He said a search operation is still underway for the unknown number of people missing.

"We've come to know that the ferry was carrying about 1,000 passengers," he said, adding that it has been dragged to the bank.

Survivors told local media that many of the passengers jumped into the river to swim ashore in a desperate bid to save their lives as the devastating fire ripped through the vessel for about three hours.

No deaths of foreign nationals have yet been reported.

The vessel was reportedly excessively overloaded.

The ferry services in Bangladesh, a key means of transport in the country, usually do not maintain a list of passengers and none can exactly say how many passengers are aboard a ferry.

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