A river ferry carrying more than 300 passengers sank during a tropical storm today near the Bangladeshi capital. At least 90 bodies were recovered.
Rescue workers feared many bodies were trapped inside the hull of the sunken ferry, MV Mitali.
It went down in the Buriganga River near Dhaka, said Sharif Shamsul Huq, a police officer. The vessel had been traveling from Dhaka to the southern Patuakhali district.
The 55 bodies recovered included women and children and were found floating in the choppy river or trapped inside the ferry.
"The death toll is certain to rise," said Selim Newaz Chowdhury, spokesman for the Bangladesh Fire Brigade. "No one really knows how many people were on board the ferry or how many of them survived."
High winds and dark clouds enveloped the river just before sunset.
Several passengers managed to reach the shore or were rescued by passing fishing boats, Huq said.
The exact number of people on board the MV Mitali could not be determined because most river vessels in Bangladesh do not keep passenger lists.
Also today, a second ferry carrying about 100 people in the Meghna River capsized in a storm near Bhairab, 50 miles northeast of Dhaka, ATN Bangla TV station reported. Two bodies were found floating in the river, the station said.
Strong winds and rain lashed parts of Bangladesh today, damaging hundreds of flimsy houses and felling many trees and electricity poles. Tropical storms are common this time of year in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 130 million people.