At least 39 people are killed in a massive ferry fire in southern Bangladesh

DHAKA (Bangladesh) -- Officials said that a massive fire broke out on Friday morning at a river ferry carrying people in Bangladesh. It left at least 39 dead and 70 others injured. To escape the flames, many passengers jumped from the ship into the cold water.

At least 39 people are killed in a massive ferry fire in southern Bangladesh


 

According to Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan (fire officer), it took 15 fire engines to put out the flames and eight more to cool the vessel down. The ferry's blackened hull was left to rest at the river's banks. Divers continued their search for the waters, as anxious relatives gathered at the banks.

Officials said that the blaze started on the MV Avijan-10 at 3 a.m. It was carrying 800 passengers. Many were travelling to see family and friends over the weekend.

Anisur Rahman, a survivor, said that he was asleep on the deck when he woke up to hear screams and a loud sound. He also claimed that smoke came from the back of his ferry. "I, along with many others, jumped into freezing river water in thick fog and swam to riverbank.

Moinul Haque, a police officer, stated that 37 bodies were recovered from the river and two others died of burn injuries on their way to the hospital. All 70 of the injured were taken to hospital, some with severe burns.

Ferries are the most popular mode of transport in Bangladesh. The country is crossed by more than 130 rivers. Accidents involving ferry vessels are frequent, often due to overcrowding and lax safety regulations.

The ferry was travelling from Dhaka (the capital) to Barguna, which is approximately 250 km (155 miles to the south). The ferry caught fire near the Sugandha River in Jhalokati, just before the end of its journey.

Bhuiyan suggested that the fire may have been started in the engine area. The government established two investigation committees and required them to report back within three days.

25 people were killed in April when a ferry collided and capsized just outside Dhaka.

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