February 25, 2015 / 6:14 PM / 3 years ago

Nine more bodies found in Bangladesh ferry disaster; toll now 79

DHAKA (Reuters) - Nine bodies were retrieved from a river in central Bangladesh on Wednesday, said Harun-ur Rashid, a regional police official, bringing to 79 the number of people known to have died when a ferry capsized on Sunday.

The ferry, carrying 150 passengers and crew, capsized after colliding with a trawler on the river Padma. Rescuers managed to save at least 50 passengers, Harun told Reuters.

Police have seized the trawler and arrested the captain and his three crew, Harun said.

Twenty-seven of the bodies recovered were inside the ferry, Harun said. Another 43 bodies were pulled from the water on Sunday, more than half of them women and children, he said. Rescue attempts had now ended.

A similar accident on Feb. 13 killed at least seven passengers in southern Bangladesh.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, suffers regular ferry disasters. Death tolls sometimes run into the hundreds.

The ferry had been heading to Paturia from Daulatdia in Rajbari, about 135 km (85 miles) west of the capital Dhaka. Shajahan Khan, the shipping minister, told reporters at the scene that an investigation had been opened.

Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Larry King

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