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NEW DELHI — The police in Bangladesh have launched a manhunt for the owners, captain and other crew members of a ferry that capsized and sank in a river on Monday. By Wednesday, 137 passengers from the ferry had been reported missing and 19 bodies had been recovered.
The vessel was overloaded, carrying at least three times its maximum licensed capacity of 85 people when it capsized on Monday morning while attempting to cross the swollen Padma River in rough weather.
Before it departed, an official had warned the captain against overloading the ferry, Mohammad Saiful Hasan Badal, the top civil servant in Munshiganj, the district in central Bangladesh where the sinking took place, said Wednesday.
The authorities have charged the ferry’s owners with culpable homicide, a charge that can bring the death penalty or life imprisonment, as well as unsafe operation and overloading of the vessel, Mr. Badal said. He said all six of the accused were in hiding.
Hundreds of rescue workers were still at the disaster site on Wednesday, searching for the capsized ferry on the riverbed, 80 feet below the surface, but their efforts have been hampered by heavy currents and silt. Mr. Badal said 137 people have been officially registered as missing.
Nineteen bodies have been recovered, of whom three have been identified, Mr. Badal said. Many bodies are presumed to have been carried away by the current, and others are believed to remain trapped inside the sunken vessel.
Source: New York Times