21 Dead in Ferry Collision in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi river ferries (file image)

Published Aug 29, 2021 12:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

A ferry capsizing has killed at least 21 people near the town of Bijoynagar, Bangladesh, according to multiple reports. 

The ferry was under way with 50-60 people on board when it collided with a sand carrier. The force of the collision caused the ferry to capsize and sink, putting the passengers into the water. The ferry was near enough to shore that some survivors were able to swim to the nearest bank. 

Seven people were injured and taken to the hospital for treatment, according to AFP, and the death toll stood at 21 as of Saturday. The numbers are expected to rise as the search continues, and divers are combing the wreck for remains. 

With relatively few bridges across major rivers and an abundance of navigable channels, Bangladesh is unusually dependent on riverine transport. Ferry accidents are a regular occurrence, driven by a combination of lax regulation, overcrowding and high traffic.

In May, a passenger speedboat traveling from  Munshiganj to Madaripur struck a sand barge, killing at least 26 and wounding five. Five more were believed missing. 

In April, a collision between a ferry and a passing cargo ship killed at least 27 people in Dhaka, with at least seven more missing. 

In June 2020, more than 30 people were killed when the ferry Morning Bird was struck from behind by another vessel as she was leaving the busy Sadarghat terminal on the Buriganga River. Morning Bird sank with 50-100 people on board, and divers recovered 32 bodies from the wreck.