NEW DELHI — At least 32 people, including three children, drowned on Monday after the passenger boat they were on collided with a ferry and capsized in Bangladesh’s capital city, the latest disaster for a country haunted by maritime accidents.
The capsized ship, called the Morning Bird, had just completed an hourlong journey to the Sadarghat river port in the city of Dhaka when it collided with the other vessel, officials said. The boat was carrying more than 50 passengers, including local government officers.
Commodore Golam Sadeq, an official of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport, said a four-member team would carry out an inquiry and submit a report in 72 hours to determine the cause of the collision. Earlier, Mr. Sadeq had said that the ship had sunk because of “carelessness” and had not been overcrowded.
The authorities said that they had opened an investigation and seized the ferry involved in the accident.
M.D. Selim, an official with the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, told reporters, “After offloading some of the passengers at one terminal, the Morning Bird was traveling backward when another vessel crashed into it.”
He said that the Morning Bird had capsized and that divers from the country’s navy and coast guard had immediately been deployed for a rescue operation.
Several passengers were still listed as missing after rescuers recovered 32 bodies, including at least three children. Some of the passengers swam to shore and were being treated at a nearby hospital.
“Rescuers from a number of units are still continuing the operation,” said Abdul Ahad, an official at Shampur Fire Station, which also sent a team to the spot.
After a number of deadly accidents, officials in the Bangladeshi Department of Shipping have come under increasing pressure in recent years to enact safety regulations, including ensuring that crews avoid overcrowding.
At least 15 people drowned in February after an overcrowded boat carrying Rohingya refugees capsized off the coast of Bangladesh.
And in one of the worst maritime accidents in the country in recent decades, at least 100 people were left dead or missing when an overloaded ferry carrying over 300 passengers capsized in 2014.