Middle East

Bangladesh arrests ferry owner after flames killing 39 people

Bangladeshi police arrested the owner of an overcrowded ferry on Monday after an investigator blamed the victims for ignoring safety and then a fire broke out, killing at least 39 people.

The fire broke out on Friday midnight when many of the 700 passengers on the ferry were sleeping near the southern district of Barguna.

Survivors told the tragic story of having to dive into the Suganda River from a three-story ferry designed to accommodate only 420 people.

Most of the victims were burned at the stake, while others drowned in the frigid sea in an attempt to escape.

The ferry owner, Hum Jalal Sheikh, was arrested on Monday, a police spokesman told reporters.

Marine police officer Mahbubur Rahman said the ship did not have enough fire extinguishers and buoys to face a major river accident.

“We talked to the survivors, and they said the ferry driver kept the ship running for almost an hour after the engine room ignited,” he told AFP.

“If they stopped the ferry and were moored immediately, they could have saved all these precious lives.”

Bangladeshi experts blame poor maintenance, loose safety standards at shipyards, and overcrowding due to frequent maritime disasters in South Asian countries.

At least 21 people were killed in August when a passenger-filled boat collided with a sand-laden cargo ship.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/706958/Bangladesh-arrests-ferry-owner-after-blaze-that-ki Bangladesh arrests ferry owner after flames killing 39 people

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