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Ferry carrying hundreds capsizes in Bangladesh

  • Bangladeshi woman Munni, whose daughters are missing, cries as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

    Bangladeshi woman Munni, whose daughters are missing, cries as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

    Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

  • A Bangladeshi boy watches as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

    A Bangladeshi boy watches as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

    Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

    Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

  • Bangladeshi woman Munni, whose daughters are missing, cries as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)
  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)
  • A Bangladeshi boy watches as rescuers search the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)
  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)
  • Bangladeshi people gather on the banks of  the River Padma after a passenger ferry capsized in Munshiganj district, Bangladesh, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized Monday in central Bangladesh, and at least 44 people either swam to safety or were rescued but the number of missing passengers is not yet known. (AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad)

A passenger ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized yesterday in Bangladesh, killing at least two people and probably many more as horrified villagers watched from the shore, authorities said.

It was unclear exactly how many people were on board the M.V. Pinak because ferry operators in Bangladesh rarely maintain passenger lists. Local news media said there were about 250 passengers, but the figure could not be immediately confirmed.

Azizul Haque, who was among at least 44 people who survived by swimming to shore, said he jumped overboard when it became clear the ferry was going down.

“The ferry went out of control due to wind and current, tilting from one side to the other,” said Haque, 30. “Then the captain jumped out because he probably understood it was sinking. The river was rough, and there were many passengers on board.”

The ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj district, about 28 miles south of the capital, Dhaka.

More than four hours after the ferry capsized, authorities said they were still waiting for a larger vessel needed to launch a proper rescue operation. Local police Officer Khalid Hossain said two bodies had been recovered so far.

“We are waiting for a big rescue vessel which is on its way,” said Nurul Alam Dulal, a local fire official. “It’s very difficult to go there at the scene and stay afloat.”

Jasim Uddin, 35, was among a crowd of people who watched the vessel go down from the shore, recording it on his cell phone as it disappeared. When the survivors began to come to shore, he said they were exhausted and panicked.

“One woman swam nearly to shore and was picked up by a speedboat,” he said. “She was crying, saying she has two daughters. It was panic. Everyone was praying to God.”

As news spread of the accident, about 500 people including relatives of the missing gathered by the water, many of them weeping and holding photos of their loved ones.

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