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Friday, December 9, 2022

Bangladesh ferry fire: Dozens killed near Jhalakathi in Crowded Ferry Fire

At least 37 people have been killed and about 100 others injured after a packed ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh, local officials say.

At least 37 people were killed and about 100 others injured when a full-blown boat caught fire in southern Bangladesh, local officials said.

The three-story shipwreck started in the middle of the river near the town of Jhalakathi as it flowed from the capital Dhaka to the town of Barguna.

Some of the dead drowned after jumping into the water.

The death toll from Friday’s tragedy is likely to rise as more passengers are seriously injured.

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About 500 people were reportedly on board.

The fire is believed to have started in the engine room and spread quickly as the boat was sailing along the Sugandha River this morning, fire chief Kamal Hossain Bhuiyan told local media.

The fire is said to have lasted for several hours.

Another surviving passenger, an elderly grandmother, told AFP that most of the people were asleep when the fire broke out.

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“We were lying on the floor,” he said. My nine-year-old grandson, Nayem, was with me and jumped into the river. I do not know what happened to him. “

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Boat accidents have been left unmanaged for years

It is not uncommon to see boats rolling over in Bangladesh. Passengers are loaded on boats that are poorly maintained, with untrained crew, often in excess of the estimated capacity of the ship. Hundreds have drowned in South Africa’s rivers over the past 10 years. But the fire that burned the boat added a new layer of panic to the story.

The fire is thought to have started in the engine room, spreads quickly, and sprays or other safety measures may have little effect.

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These and other disasters are the result of lawlessness. Users are rarely punished so boats with disabilities continue to carry hundreds of passengers every day.

About 30% of Bangladesh’s 170 million people travel along riverbanks. But most of them are poor Bangladeshi, and the government has not yet made it a priority to tackle loose standards. Ship accidents are so common that no international outcry is troubling them, and it is commonly believed that boat owners are politically powerful.

The result is that hundreds of poor Bangladeshis risk their lives just to get by.
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A special committee has been appointed to investigate the incident, according to reports.

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Barguna is about 250km (155 miles) south of Dhaka.

Boat accidents are rare in Bangladesh, there are suspected incidents of overcrowding, as well as poor standards of care and safety in many of the country’s shipping lanes. Ships often sink in adverse weather conditions.

In June 2020, scores of people were killed when a boat carrying about 50 people capsized near Dhaka.
Map of Bangladesh

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