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A river ferry carrying about 100 passengers
capsized and sank in central Bangladesh on Sunday and a rescue operation was
underway, an official said. The ferry was reportedly hit by a cargo
vessel at the Daulatdia-Paturia crossing on
the Padma River on Sunday afternoon, said
fire department official Shahzadi Begum. It was not immediately clear how many people
survived or are missing. The site is 40
kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the capital,
Dhaka. Begum said rescue teams were deployed and
many passing boats were helping in the
operation. Inspector Zihad Mia, who is overseeing the
rescue, told The Associated Press by phone
that the ferry was submerged at a depth of up
to 20 feet (6 meters). "We have not recovered any dead body, and
we don't have a clear picture about how many
were exactly in the ferry when it sank," he
said. "But I think many have survived." He said divers would soon be deployed to
determine the exact position of the ferry. "We are trying to gather details from the
survivors," he said. The Padma is one of the largest rivers in the
delta nation, which is crisscrossed by more
than 130 rivers. Overcrowding and poor safety standards are
often blamed for ferry disasters in the
impoverished South Asian nation. Last August, a ferry with a capacity of 85
passengers was found to be carrying more
than 200 when it capsized also on the Padma
near Dhaka, leaving with more than 100
people dead or missing. The owner was
arrested after weeks in hiding on charges of culpable homicide, unauthorized operation and

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