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Ferry disaster death toll surpasses 100

March 14, 2012 at 11:35 PM   |   Comments

CHAR KISHORI, Bangladesh, March 14 (UPI) -- Bangladeshi rescuers retrieved dozens of bodies from a capsized ferry they salvaged from Meghna River as the death toll from the disaster reached 112.

The ferry went down in 70 feet of river water Tuesday night after a collision with a cargo vessel south of the capital of Dhaka, taking many of the trapped passengers with it.

Bangladesh authorities salvaged the vessel Wednesday but said dozens of passengers remained missing even as search and rescue operations persisted Thursday.

The ferry, MV Shariatpur-1, collided with a cargo vessel late Tuesday in the Meghna River near Char Kishori in Munshiganj, about 20 miles south of Dhaka, where it was bound.

Authorities have not determined how many passengers were aboard, but various passenger accounts have put the total between 250 and 300, leaving dozens missing or unaccounted for.

The Bangladesh Daily Star reported the death toll jumped to 112 after the discovery of 76 bodies from the salvaged wreckage and during search of the waters Wednesday. Another 36 bodies were recovered from the waters the previous day.

The report said two salvage vessels pulled up the ferry.

The rescue operation was being led by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority. There was yet no word on the name of the cargo vessel involved in the collision, the report said.

Many relatives were accommodated in a temporary shelter as they awaited news of missing family members.

"My only prayer to the Almighty is that I get my mother's body," said Humayun, who was waiting for news about the fate of his mother, the report said.

"Empty stomach, I have been waiting for about 30 hours to get my brother's body. Everyone is getting their dear ones, but I don't know when my waiting will end," said Mohammed Ali.

More than 50 passengers swam to safety and others were rescued by two passing ferries and fishing boats, the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported.

The 105-foot ferry was built in 1991 and had permission to carry 225 passengers at night, officials said.

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