Bangladesh: At least 25 dead as ferry sinks after colliding with cargo vessel

At least 25 people have died as a ferry carrying more than 100 passengers capsized after colliding with a cargo vessel in a river just outside Bangladesh's capital, an official said on Monday.

The ferry ML Rabit Al Hasan sank Sunday night after being hit by a cargo vessel in the Shitalakkhya River in Narayanganj district, just outside Dhaka, officials said.

Fire official Ershad Hossain said rescuers recovered five bodies overnight and 20 others on Monday - while nine others remain missing.

Hossain said the double-decker ferry was traveling to neighbouring Munshiganj district with more than 50 passengers when the accident took place.

Relatives cry as rescuers recover bodies after a ferry sank after being hit by a cargo vessel in the Shitalakkhya River in Bangladesh. Credit: AP

Authorities have blamed the oil-laden cargo vessel with hitting the ferry and ordered an investigation.

Sadhan Saha, whose family was on the ferry boat, said he has received his wife’s body, but his two sons remain missing.

The 50-year-old said: "My wife went to Dhaka for my son’s treatment for eyes. They were returning on the ferry in the evening.

"The last time I talked to my wife before the accident, she said they were on their way back," Saha told local media, the Prothom Alo newspaper.

"Now I don’t have anybody left in my family," he added.

Ferry accidents are common and are often blamed on overcrowding and lax rules in Bangladesh, which is crisscrossed by about 130 rivers.

Ferries are a leading means of transportation, especially in the southern and northeastern regions.