Bangladesh Ferry Disaster Toll Rises to 17
Rescuers picked up 10 floating bodies off southeastern Bangladesh coast Sunday pushing the death toll in Friday's ferry sinking to 17 so far, police said.
An official at the district police control said most the bodies surfaced from the sea bed after mid-day Sunday, some 48 hours after the capsize, and were picked up by police and other search boats.
"There are reports of several more such floating bodies in nearby areas and we are checking," the official said.
Sunday's recovery of bodies, some which might have been trapped inside the sunken vessel, came amid faded hopes for up to 100 mostly women and children missing after a ferry sank off the southeastern Bangladesh coast.
Officials earlier expected high tide would help wash up bodies from the sunken ferry which was yet to be detected.
Until late Friday seven people were so far confirmed dead.
"The number of death toll may go further up with trapped bodies beginning to emerge," district deputy police chief Ataul Huq said, but gave no details.
Earlier on Saturday, Huq said: "We are assuming between 50 and 100 are still missing as women or children have yet to be accounted for."
The overloaded ferry sunk in bad weather as it made its way to the coastal island of Sandwip from the mainland town of Barbakunda, near the port city of Chittagong.
Local ferries do not keep passenger lists, making it difficult to know the exact number of people on board although reports have said it may have been carrying as many as 200 people.
On Saturday, six Naval gunships and boats joined the search and rescue mission launched by police, fire brigade and local fishermen to find those missing.
Ferry accidents, mostly blamed on overloading and unskilled skippers, are frequent in Bangladesh which has a wide coast and hundreds of rivers.
In the last major ferry accident in December, 88 people died after two ferries collided in southern Chandpur district -- CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AFP)
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