Bangladesh: More than 20 killed after pilgrim boat heading to Bodeshwari temple capsizes on first day of Durga Puja

Monday, 26 September 2022 (11:57 IST)
At least 24 people were killed and dozens more left missing on Sunday after a boat capsized in a river in Bangladesh.

The boat was carrying Hindu pilgrims who were heading to a centuries-old temple.

The incident — the worst of its kind in the country this year — took place in the Karotoa River close to the town of Boda, in the north of Bangladesh.

"Firefighters and divers are searching for more bodies," a local police officer told news agency AFP.

Officials said that 12 women and eight children were among the dead bodies that had been found.

What do we know so far?

The exact number of passengers is not known, but other people who had been on the boat said that the number was close to 70.

A local TV channel shared footage of the incident captured on a mobile phone. It showed the overcrowded boat suddenly tip over, throwing people into the river.

Authorities have not yet given a cause for the incident. The weather at the time was calm.

The pilgrims on the boat were headed to the Bodeshwari Temple, which attracts thousands of Hindus in the Muslim-majority country each year.

Sunday was the first day of Durga Puja, the biggest Hindu festival in Bangladesh and eastern India.

Bangladesh's record of waterway accidents

Fatal incidents such as the one on Sunday are a fairly regular occurrence in the South Asian country that is crisscrossed by rivers and waterways.

Last December, over 40 people were killed when the multistory ferry they were sleeping on caught fire.

Another 32 people were killed when their ferry sank following a collision with a vessel near the capital, Dhaka.

The worst incident in recent years, however, saw 78 people lose their lives when their overcrowded vessel collided with a cargo ship and sank in February 2015.

Experts have blamed a lack of safety regulations as well as poor maintenance for the deadly accidents.

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