Bangladesh: 25 dead in boat collision

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At least 25 people were killed Monday morning in a collision between two boats on a river in central Bangladesh, police said.

“We rescued five people and recovered 25 bodies,” local police chief Miraz Hossain told AFP after the collision between a boat carrying at least 30 passengers and a barge laden with sand on the Padma River, near the town of Shibchar.

Firefighters and locals continued with rescue operations, while others are missing, another police officer said.

Maritime accidents are frequent in Bangladesh, a delta country crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers.

Experts attribute most of these accidents to poor maintenance of boats, lax standards in shipyards but also overcrowding.

Sand-laden barges sail flush with the water and can be difficult to see in rough waters, especially in low light.

In early April, more than 30 people were killed when a ferry crowded with about 50 passengers from Narayanganj in the center of the country collided with a cargo ship.

Last June, a ferry sank in Dhaka after being struck on its stern by another ferry. At least 32 people had died.