At least 26 people have been killed after a collision between an overcrowded motorboat and a cargo vessel on a river in central Bangladesh, officials said on Monday.
Rescuers found the bodies of three children, a woman, and 22 men on Padma river after the speeding motorboat carrying more than 30passengers hit the cargo ship and overturned in the river, local government official Mohammad Asaduzzaman said. The accident occurred in the morning near Kathalbari river port ofMadaripur district, located more than 50 kilometers south of the capital Dhaka.
Local residents rescued five people soon after the boat sank in the river and rushed them to hospital, Asaduzzaman said. Ashikur Rahman, an on-duty police officer at the river port, said the motorboat was ferrying passengers across the river in absence of regular transportation services, which are shut because of the nationwide lockdown imposed last month to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Television footage shows the front side of the damaged speedboat, salvaged by the rescuers, was reduced almost to half. The district's chief administrator Rahima Khatun said an investigation was launched into the accident.
Panel investigators were asked to report back in three days. Deaths from ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, a country of many rivers. Experts blame poor safety measures and the lax implementation of regulations.