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Bangladesh death toll rises to 39

29 February 08 05:11 GMT

The death toll from Thursday's accident involving a ferry in Bangladesh has risen to 39, officials say.

The ferry, carrying more than 100 passengers, collided with another vessel in the Buriganga river, near Dhaka, and capsized.

Several passengers swam ashore but others were feared trapped in the stricken boat.

Bangladesh frequently sees ferry accidents - typically blamed on unsafe, ageing boats and on overcrowding.

Some more bodies were found inside the ferry after it was pulled out of the water early on Friday, police official ASM Maniruzzaman told the Associated Press news agency.

The ferry had been travelling from Dhaka to the neighbouring town of Taltata when it met with the accident.

Unsafe

Passenger Rina Aktar and her 10-month-old son survived the accident, but her mother-in-law died.

"I huddled my baby and ran to the upper deck when the boat wobbled and started going down, Ms Aktar, said.

"The boy took in lot of water, but I'm glad he is still alive."

Another survivor, Farhana, said he jumped into the river as the boat started going down.

A recent study on ferry safety said that about 20,000 cargo and passenger vessels operate in Bangladesh, and about half of them fail to meet basic safety standards, or take on more than their legal quota of passengers.

The study asked the government to strengthen coast guard patrols, identify dangerous river crossings, enforce registration requirements and provide training for navigators and crew.

The government says that measures are being taken to improve safety in the waterways.

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