Dhaka: Bangladeshi authorities were racing against time on Monday to find any survivors of the boat accident involving Hindu devotees, even as the death toll in the incident rose to 49, mostly children and women. The devotees were heading towards the Bodeshwari Temple on the occasion of Mahalaya, the auspicious start of the Durga Puja festival, when the overcrowded boat capsized in the Korotoa River in northwestern Panchagarh district.
Panchagarh additional deputy commissioner Dipankar Roy, who is also leading the investigation committee, said that 43 bodies were recovered and 41 people are still missing. Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported that the total number of dead people now stands at 49. Among them, 13 are kids, 24 are women and 12 are men, it added.
Media reports quoting relatives said 58 passengers were missing while officials have said the boat was believed to be carrying as many as 80 people.
Eyewitnesses, however, claim that there were more than 150 passengers on the boat.
“The preliminary investigation shows that the boat was overcrowded,” Roy was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the Bodeshwari Temple every year during the Durga Puja, which began in Bangladesh on Sunday. President Abdul Hamid and PM Sheikh Hasina issued statements condoling the incident while local officials were asked to take steps for survivors treatment and compensation for the dead.