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Over 40 killed as fire engulfs three-storeyed ferry in Bangladesh

The overcrowded three-storeyed ferry caught fire while in the middle of Sugandha river in southern Bangladesh. There were 1,000 passengers and they were all sleeping when the launch was engulfed in the blaze. Such mishaps are frequent in underdeveloped Bangladesh.

DHAKA, Dec 25: Forty passengers died in a massive fire on a crowded ferry in southern Bangladesh in the wee hours of Friday. The three-storeyed night vessel had started from Sadarghat river station in Dhaka at 9:00 pm on Thursday for Barguna district in the south and the MV Obhijan 10 launch caught fire while in the middle of the Sugandha river in Jhakakathi at around 3 am. There were about 1,000 passengers and they were all sleeping when the ferry caught fire.

Also see:

Parents threw their children towards the shore attempting to save them, says a survivor

Owner claims no mechanical faults on Jhalakathi launch

The blaze is said to have started in the engine room and it took five hours to put out the fire but the whole vessel gutted by the time. Most of the casualties were from the fire and a few drowned as they jumped overboard. Over 100 people have been admitted to hospitals in Barisal. Doctors said their condition is critical. The mishap occurred in Jhakakathi, 250 km south of the Capital, Dhaka, early morning.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, currently in the Maldives on a State visit, on Friday directed the authorities to ensure quick treatment of the injured and hand over the bodies to their relatives.

The ferry services in Bangladesh, a key means of transport in the country, usually do not maintain a list of passengers and none can exactly say how many passengers are aboard a ferry, says Xinhua.

In August, in an eastern Bangladesh lake a boat mishap killed 21 passengers In July, 50 people died in a food factory fire in an industrial town west of Dhaka. In 2019, a chemical store fire in the Capital killed 70 people. Inadequate safety measures, overpopulation and illiteracy contribute towards such incidents in Bangladesh, it is said.

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