At least 37 dead in boat fire in Bangladesh

December 24, 2021

DACA, Bangladesh (AP) – At least 37 people were killed and 72 injured in a large fire that swept through a ferry on the Sugandha River in southern Bangladesh, according to fire services. Several passengers jumped overboard and swam to shore.

The fire started at around 3 a.m. Friday on the MV Avijan-10, in the waters of the Jhalokati district.

The ship was carrying 800 passengers from Dhaka, the capital of the country, to Barguna, almost 250 kilometers (155 miles) to the south, according to statements by fire chief Kamal Uddin quoted by the United News of Bangladesh news agency.

Of the 72 rescued, 48 were admitted to a government hospital with burns, according to fire chief Khalilur Rahman. At least 37 bodies were recovered.

The rescue mission was still underway and the death toll was likely to rise, fire chief Fazlul Haque said.

The cause of the fire was not mentioned.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, and are often attributed to overcrowding and lax regulation in the country, which has some 130 rivers. Ships are crucial means of transportation, especially in the south and northeast of the country.

In April 25 people were killed after a ferry collided with another ship and sank off the Bangladeshi capital.