Monday,13 May 2002  
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Bangladesh sees 2nd ferry disaster in just over a week

DHAKA, May 11 (Reuters) - At least one man drowned and nine passengers were missing as a storm sank a ferry in Bangladesh on Saturday the country's second ferry disaster in just over a week.

Police said the storm, hitting a speed of 100 km (62 miles) per hour, sank a ferry carrying some 70 passengers on the river Sandha in the southern Barisal district. Sixty of the passengers were rescued from the ferry M.V. Ifty.

The storm also injured 15 people and damaged scores of homes and uprooted trees and electic poles, the local meteorological office said.

News of the fresh ferry disaster comes as Bangladesh counts the toll of its second-worst ferry disaster on record.

The state-run BSS news agency said on Saturday the death toll from the sinking of the M.V. Salahuddin-2 on the night of May 3 could rise above 450, with 369 bodies now found and at least 100 people still missing,

The ferry had an official capacity of only 310 people, navigation officials said.

It went down at Shatnal, 170 km (106 miles) from Dhaka, on its way to the coastal district of Patuakhali. Survivors said many victims were trapped in fishing nets while trying to escape.

Bangladesh's worst ferry disaster occurred in 1986 when around 600 people died in the same river.

Hundreds more have died since then in similar accidents around the country which has more than 150 rivers. Authorities are searching for an action plan to prevent such tragedies.

Bangladesh ferries are often overcrowded, flout safety regulations, and passenger lists are not kept. Boat operators are accused of bribing officials to avoid penalties. 

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