Ferry sinking: Death toll at 62

2010-11-01 19:12

New Delhi – The death toll in a ferry capsize near India's Bay of Bengal rose to 62 late on Monday as divers searched for those still missing in the turbulent waters, news reports said.

A crowded trawler believed to be carrying around 200 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims, sank after hitting a sandbank in the Muriganga river in the eastern state of West Bengal on Saturday.

Forty-two more bodies were found since Sunday evening, taking the death toll to 62, the PTI news agency reported.

Earlier on Monday, as the confirmed death toll stood at 41, administration official Narayan Swarup Nigam was quoted as saying: "The toll is likely to rise as there is a possibility of recovering more bodies."

Hope of finding survivors among the up to 90 people missing had faded, local news channels reported.

Medical treatment

Fifty people, who either swam to safety or were rescued by local boatmen, received medical treatment at local hospitals.

Police said the exact number of passengers aboard the trawler could not be determined but survivors estimated more than 150. The vessel had a capacity for about 60 passengers, police said.

Divers from the Indian navy and Coast Guard and a 40-member team of the state disaster management force began operations on Monday morning.

A helicopter, speedboats and hovercraft explored the waters around the scene of the accident.

The passengers were mainly farmers and fishermen returning from a Muslim shrine.