|Bangladeshi rescue workers search the waters where an overloaded|
ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, 30km from Dhaka.
Image by Fahad Kaizer. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2014)
A passenger ferry capsized in Padma river en route to Mawa in Bangladesh, some 30 kilometres south of the capital Dhaka. Strong currents led to the accident around 11 a.m. Bangladesh time on Monday. The vessel was over capacity at the time with at least 250 people on board.
Efforts are ongoing to rescue the passengers from the river. At least two people have died, and more than 100 are reported missing according to latest reports.
The moment the ferry capsized was captured by an unknown person on a mobile phone from a nearby vessel. The video was uploaded to YouTube and Facebook by a number of users like RisingBD, and it went viral.
The rescue operations are being hampered due to strong currents and big waves in the Padma river. The rescuers are yet to identify the place underwater where the ferry submerged.
Bangladesh has been struck with these kinds of repeated tragedies during monsoon season in recent years. The reason includes poor design and quality control of as many as 10,000 vessels plying in the country and overloading of passengers, especially during festival (Eid) time.
Diaspora Blogger Haseeb Mahmud reacted cynically on Facebook after hearing about the disaster:
A ferry has sunk. We will soon hear the news of the deaths of more than hundreds of people.
What will happen:
- A rescue effort with limited resources
- A new issue to post about on Facebook after the Eid holidays. Statuses, events, fund collection.
- Human chain in front of media cameras in Shahbag
What will not happen:
- Build a proper quality control mechanism for the vessels and a controllable traffic system. A long-term citizen movement is required to achieve this system (not the usual sporadic press conferences or fund collection by NGOs).
- No extra budget allocation will be made to increase safety in inland water travel.
- A lot of the bodies will never be found. Worse, we will never know who they were, not even their names.
- No one will be prosecuted for negligence or be deemed responsible
Bangladeshi onlookers gather near the scene where an overloaded ferry capsized in the Padma river in Munshiganj. Image by Fahad Kaizer. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2014)
Twitter user À Muse Dë Erato accused local TV channels of airing the launch capsize video over and over for increased viewership:
They said humanity died in gaza by israli and they showing Launch sinks in Padma video again again 4 TRP #BangladeshThe post was first published in Global Voices Online.
— À Muse Dë Erato (@rafisBlackDiary) August 4, 2014