12 Dead As Bangladesh Ferry Capsizes In Storm

A search and rescue mission is underway for the more than 200 people who were on board.
Posted at 9:28 PM, May 15, 2014

At least twelve people are dead and possibly hundreds missing after a ferry was caught in a storm and capsized in Bangladesh.

Locals gathered on a nearby shoreline. BBC reports at least 200 people were onboard the ferry which flipped over along the Meghna River, south of Dhakai, its capital city.

"There are reports that some of the passengers were able to swim to shore. Rescue workers say the ferry is underwater, and that they are trying to salvage it." (Via Al Jazeera)

An official told CNN: "We've found 12 bodies so far ... many people are still missing. We can't exactly say how many are missing."

A local police chief saiD search-and-rescue efforts are underway. "The ferry is completely under water. We are now trying to locate it." (Via The Telegraph)

Another official said the river's massive width and depth along with intense currents have made rescue efforts difficult. (Via NTV)

One survivor who swam to safety told CNN, "It was a river estuary and very deep. ... I was on the deck of the ferry and jumped off as the ferry turned aside and started sinking."

Bangladesh also has a history of ferry accidents where overcrowding and shoddy boats have been an issue. Which may create problems as they're one of the main forms of transportation to the country's rural areas.

In 2012, around 150 people died when an overcrowded ferry capsized on this same river.  And, in 2009 a packed triple-decker ferry flipped as well, killing 46 people. (Via YouTube /PriyoChannel)

And, according Al Jazeera, officials said "more than 95 percent of Bangladesh's hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized boats don't meet minimum safety regulations."