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Over 100 dead, 150 missing as ferry capsizes in Bangladesh

By Haroon Habib

DHAKA, FEB. 20. Over 100 people were killed and 150 missing when an over-crowded launch with nearly 300 passengers on board capsized on Saturday night in the Buriganga river near Dhaka.

Eighty-two bodies were recovered from the ill-fated launch after a day-long search by the Navy and divers of several agencies, an official said. An estimated 150 people are still missing, feared trapped inside the launch or drowned, he said.

The ferry was going to eastern Matlab, Chandpur from Dhaka, when it got caught in a tropical storm at Pagla, 16 km from Dhaka, just before midnight. The launch, MV Maharaj, left Dhaka's Sadarghat terminal at 10.15 p.m. on Saturday.The ferry was carrying almost double its capacity, packed with people heading home for a holiday to mark the Muslim religious occasion of Ashura.

Relatives distraught

Thousands of people gathered on the riverbanks to look for their loved ones. The distraught relatives gathered to await news of missing family members. The authorities have already handed over 60 bodies.

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