The burnt passenger ferry is seen anchored on the bank of Sugandha River on Saturday. Reuters
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Bangladesh government and to the families of the victims of this tragic accident, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
Ferry fire toll rises to 40
In Bangladesh, authorities buried 23 unclaimed bodies after a day-long search failed to recover more victims or survivors of a massive fire on a crowded river ferry that left 40 people dead.
Habibur Rahman, a top government official, said he had an incomplete list of 17 missing people who were on board the ferry on Friday when the fire awoke passengers around 3am, forcing many to leap into cold waters and swim ashore.
Divers looked for more survivors before suspending their efforts at sunset on Saturday. Rahman said 50 people were being treated in two hospitals, while 19 others have been sent home.
Dr Samanta Lal Sen, chief coordinator of the Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute in Dhaka, said his hospital was treating 15 people for serious burns. "I would say everyone is critical and no one is out of danger,” he said.
Thirty-five injured in another hospital in Barishal were out of danger, said hospital Director Dr Saiful Isalm.
Investigators inspected the fire-ravaged ferry MV Abhijan-10, and one of them, Mohammed Tofayel Islam, said they found some defects in the engine room. "We’re trying to unearth other possible reasons,” he said.
It took 15 fire engines several hours to control the blaze and cool down the vessel, according to fire officer Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan, who led the rescue operation. Afterward, the blackened hull of the ferry sat anchored at the river’s edge while many anxious relatives gathered on the banks.
WAM / AP
Search and rescue efforts were continuing after the fire on the M/V Lite Ferry 16 off Dapitan city in Zamboanga del Norte province, coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said.
The government of Kiribati was accused on Friday of attempting to bury a damning report into the Pacific island nation’s worst ferry disaster, which claimed 81 lives last year.
The boat had around 50 passengers aboard when it capsized in the Buriganga river that runs along southwest Dhaka, Shahjahan Shikder.
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