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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Ferry with Eid passengers sinks
Dead ferry victim's foot
Scores are killed each year from ferry disasters in Bangladesh
At least 15 people in Bangladesh have died after a passenger ferry carrying nearly 125 passengers capsized in the River Meghna, police say.

They say the vessel - carrying passengers home for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival - sank near Munshiganj when a cargo boat collided with it.

A senior police official told the BBC that most of the passengers were able to swim to safety on the river bank.

He said some passengers were still missing from the MV Shah Paran.

'Weaknesses'

Local divers are searching for survivors at the scene of the accident, about 20km (12.4miles) south-east of the capital, Dhaka.

Bangladesh map
Most (passengers) were able to swim to shore because they were sitting on the decks
Police official at MV Shah Paran sinking site

A rescue ship is now on its way to salvage the ferry, police say.

The vessel was travelling from Tetoitala ferry terminal to Rampura in Comilla district.

An independent study last year blamed the Bangladeshi government's "weakness" in enforcing laws as one of the major causes for repeated ferry accidents.

The study by the Alliance for Safe River Routes campaign group said that ferry accidents have claimed more than 4,000 lives in the last 34 years.

The study said some 500 ferries were involved in accidents during this period.

Ferries in Bangladesh are notorious for being overcrowded and unsafe.




SEE ALSO
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