About 350 people were feared drowned when a double-decker ferry capsized Saturday in choppy waters in southern Bangladesh. A desperate search by survivors in small boats lasted late into the night.
The ferry was carrying 400 passengers, double its authorized load. It overturned and sank at the confluence of two rivers as it neared the port of Chandpur, 40 miles south of Dhaka, the capital, United News of Bangladesh said.Among those feared dead were 100 women and children.
With an hour of light left, rescuers set out for the sinking ferry in 15 boats but were driven back by the turbulent waters.
Later, after officials suspended the search until dawn Sunday, many of the 60 survivors who swam to shore got into small boats and frantically searched for relatives and friends with flashlights and kerosene lanterns.
No bodies were found, said Mohammad Akbar Ali, Chand-pur's police chief.
The ship sank after it got caught in a whirlpool caused by the confluence of the Meghna River, one of Bangladesh's biggest, and the smaller Dakatia River. Both rivers were overflowing because of the monthlong monsoon rains.