At least 29 bodies have been recovered from a ferry that capsized in a Bangladeshi river Thursday and 100 passengers are believed to be missing but no survivors other than the 35 people rescued so far are expected to be alive.
There is no precise total of the number of people on the M.V. Miraj-4 ferry because its operators did not have a passenger list, a local administrator told Associated Press, or AP. More than 200 passengers, mostly city workers and students returning home for the weekend, were believed to be on the ferry.
Police and rescue officials said 35 people were rescued when the ferry capsized on the Meghna River near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, Reuters reported, adding that they don’t expect additional survivors.
"Now it is more than 20 hours since the ferry sank, so there is no possibility to find anyone alive inside the vessel," Munshiganj District Deputy Commissioner Saiful Hassan Badal told Reuters.
Officials told AP that the ferry was overcrowded and its lower deck was loaded with goods. Bangladesh’s shipping minister said there will be an investigation into whether overcrowding led to the disaster. Some survivors said passengers urged the ferry’s captain to pull the boat into a shelter near a river bank as a strong storm approached but the captain ignored their requests.
“The ferry capsized within a few seconds,” said passenger Abdur Rahman.
A local police chief said authorities are trying to locate the ferry’s crew while some officials speculated that the crew left the area following the accident.
Relatives of the ferry passengers expressed anger over what they believed was a slow rescue response.
"I came here yesterday for my brother but I don't have any trace yet. Nobody can assure me of anything,” relative Lokman Hossain told AP. “Won't I get my brother back? Oh brother, please come back.”
Survivor Sabuj Mia said he was still awaiting word on the fate of his missing son.
“It is more than 20 hours, but we see no visible progress,” he told Reuters.
A similar accident occurred in March 2012 when a ferry sank around the same spot as the M.V. Miraj-4, killing at least 145 people.