At least 27 bodies have been recovered from a river outside Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka after a ferry collided with a cargo vessel and capsized.
The ferry sank soon after departing from Narayanganj district, about 20km (12 miles) from Dhaka, said district administrator Mustain Billah, according to Reuters. The cargo vessel left the scene after the collision, police said.
Rescuers recovered five bodies on Sunday and a further 22 on Monday, Narayanganj additional deputy commissioner Shameem Bepari told the Dhaka Tribune. Several people are still missing.
A seven-member committee has been formed to probe the incident. It has been asked to submit its findings in the next five days.
The ferry was carrying around 50 passengers and was going to the neighbouring Munshiganj district. It was packed with people who were leaving the city after a nationwide lockdown was announced by the Bangladesh government to combat a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Bangladesh decided to impose the seven-day lockdown, beginning Monday, to curb the spread of the virus. The country has recorded 637,364 cases and 9,266 deaths related to the virus to date, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Thousands of people left Dhaka on Sunday fearing they would get trapped during the lockdown, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
The government has ordered that all public transport services will remain suspended during the lockdown, and only emergency services will be operational.
Protests have erupted against the government’s decision on the lockdown, with shop owners demanding a reversal of the decision to close shopping malls. People also called for restrictions on public transport to be removed. This is the second time lockdown has been imposed in Bangladesh since the start of the pandemic. The country shut down for two months last year