Two minutes is the time it took for the passenger ferry to sink. Last night, after its collision with a cargo vessel on the Padma River, the main branch of the Ganges river, approximately 40km north-west of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.
The ferry was raised and brought to shore this morning.
70 People dead
At least 70 people are known to have died in the accident. Many were retrieved from the River Padma and others found trapped inside the ferry, mostly those who found themselves on its lower decks. Casualties are on the rise as rescuers from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport as well as the Red Cross search the River for more bodies.
Although no passenger list was kept for the ferry, the estimate number of passengers on board reached at least 150, which indicates the boat was overcrowded.
Accidents of the sort are frequent in Bangladesh. The country is lined by no less than 230 rivers, which make boats a central form of travelling, particularly in remote areas. Capsizing is usually due to overcrowding but also poor maintenance of ferries and a lack of safety standards. Only 10 days ago, a similar collision in the South of the country killed at least seven people. Last August, another ferry capsized for it was transporting 200 passengers with a capacity of 85. The death toll exceeded 100.
Who is held accountable?
An official investigation has been launched on order of national shipping minister Shajahan Khan. Three people have been provisionally arrested, including the steerer of the cargo vessel with which the ferry boat collided.