World | Mon Aug 4, 2014 1:54pm IST

Bangladesh ferry capsizes with 200 passengers aboard

DHAKA (Reuters) - A ferry with about 200 passengers aboard capsized on Monday in the river Padma southwest of Dhaka and rescue teams took about half of them to safety, the chief of the district administration said.

Mohammad Saiful Hasan Badal, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj district, said about 100 passengers had been rescued from the vessel, identified as the MV Pinak-6. No deaths had yet been reported.

Teams from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, fire brigade and the army were engaged in the rescue operation about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Dhaka.

"Most of the passengers were coming back to the city from home after celebrating Eid-al Fitr," Saiful told Reuters, referring to the festival marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

A similar capsize occurred in May, when 54 bodies were recovered from a vessel that went down with around 200 people on board.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, has an appalling record of ferry accidents, with casualties sometimes running into the hundreds.

Overcrowding is a common factor in many of the accidents and each time the government vows to toughen regulations.

In March 2012, a ferry sank near the same spot, killing at least 145 people.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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