38 dead in B’desh ferry fire

Dhaka, Dec 24 (IANS) At least 38 people were killed and 100 others injured when a passenger ferry caught fire in Bangladesh’s Jhalokati district on Friday, a senior official said.
Md Nazmul Alam, Jhalokati district’s additional deputy commissioner, told Xinhua news agency that the vessel was carrying nearly 1,000 people from Dhaka to Barguna district.
He said the fire broke out in the engine room at about 3 a.m.y 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.
Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident occurred, said the official.
He said a search operation is still underway for an unknown number of missing persons.
“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.
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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