People gather along the banks of the Karatoya river after a boat capsized near the town of Boda. AFP
The small boat packed with mostly women and children on their way to a popular temple flipped over on Sunday in a river as onlookers screamed in horror from the shore.
The incident in a remote northern area was the latest in a string of similar tragedies blamed on poor maintenance and overcrowding in the low-lying delta country.
District police chief Sirajul Huda said the seven bodies were found in the Karotoa river downstream from where the boat capsized near the town of Boda. It carried around 90 people — more than the up to 50 pilgrims which police on Sunday said were aboard.
"Sixty people are still missing," Huda told AFP.
"It was carrying three times its capacity. There were heavy rains in the morning and that is why when the ferrying began, pilgrims packed the boat to make it quickly to the temple," Huda said.
A man carries a dead body in Panchagarh, Bangladesh, on Sunday. AP
"The boatman asked some people to disembark in an effort to ease the weight-load. But no one listened," he said.
Local media said at least 10 people had been rescued and sent to hospital.
Mobile phone footage aired by TV station Channel 24 showed the overcrowded boat suddenly flip over, spilling the passengers into the muddy brown river.
Dozens of people watching from the shore started shouting and screaming. The weather was calm at the time.
Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the centuries-old Bodeshwari Temple every year.
Sunday marked the start of Durga Puja, the biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh -- and also eastern India -- drawing large crowds at the temple.
Last December around 40 people perished when a packed three-storey ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh.
A ferry sank in Dhaka in June 2020 after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people.
And at least 78 people perished in 2015 when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.
"The bodies of 16 people including women and children have so far been retrieved," Sujoy Kumar Roy, an officer of Panchagarh's Boda Police station, told Xinhua news agency.
The United States Coastguard and a fleet of volunteers were deployed to search for the 18 crew on board after the vessel capsized in a storm near Port Fourchon, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of New Orleans.
Local police official Imranul Islam provided the figure of 21 dead, speaking by phone late Friday. Survivors said about 100 people were aboard. Local news reports, quoting the area’s top government administrator, Hayat-Ud-Dola, said about 50 people were missing.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikhs and guests of the country witnessed on Sunday the “Union March”, which was organised by the Presidential Office and launched as part of the activities of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival for 2023 in Al Wathba area in Abu Dhabi.
At least 26 people were injured — including a local cleric — and transferred to hospitals. Police helped reroute traffic in the area after condoning off the site, officials said. The interior minister of Gilgit-Baltistan called the incident an "act of terrorism.”
Modi thanked voters for "their unwavering support” in the states where his party was leading. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, conceded defeat in the three states where his party was trailing.