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Ferry capsizes in Bangladesh river; dozens safe

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and authorities said two people died and at least 44 reached safety. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Chairman Samsuddoha Khondaker said M.V. Pinak was crossing the River Padma in Munshiganj district when it capsized. Rescuers and local people recovered two bodies from the water by afternoon and divers were expected to join the rescue efforts shortly, local police officer Khalid Hossain said. Hossain said at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers was not yet known. Local media reported up to 250 passengers were on board but that could not be confirmed. Authorities do not always maintain proper passenger lists in Bangladesh, where river ferries are a popular and common form of transportation. Khondaker said not many details were known yet about the cause of the capsizing. Abdul Alim, a local water transport official, said the ferry was apparently overloaded and it failed to navigate the strong current in the middle of the mighty river. The Padma is one of the largest rivers in Bangladesh, a delta nation crisscrossed by more than 130 rivers. Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh due to poor safety standards for the vessels, which are often overloaded. In May, about 50 people died in the same district in a ferry accident.

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