Rescuers have recovered at least 22 bodies after a ferry capsized during a storm in a river in central Bangladesh, officials said Friday.
Police estimated at least 100 people were still missing a day after the ferry sank on Thursday, but there was no accurate count because the ferry operators did not maintain a passenger list, said a local administrator, Saiful Hassan Badal, deputy commissioner of Munshiganj.
"We fear there will be more bodies inside the vessel, and we cannot be sure of the number of passengers [on board]," he said.
The ferry M.V. Miraz-4 sank in the River Meghna as it was traveling toward Shariatpur from the capital, Dhaka. The accident took place when it was in Munshiganj district.
Many people swam to safety after the accident, so it was unclear how many remained missing, Saiful said. Ferries in Bangladesh often don't have accurate passenger manifests.
"There was a sudden storm, and we requested the boatswain to anchor at the riverside, but he ignored us," Abdur Rahman, 50, a passenger who had managed to swim ashore, told Reuters. "And all on a sudden the ferry capsized within a few seconds."
A rescue vessel sent from Dhaka reached the stricken ferry some three hours later, and Saiful said firefighters and members of the coast guard, including divers, were involved in search efforts.
Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation, because of overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules.