DHAKA: The death toll in a ferry tragedy in Bangladesh today rose to 78 after the recovery of seven more bodies from the Padma river in which a boat overcrowded with nearly 150 people sank after colliding with a trawler.
The bodies were pulled out of the river in Manikganj's Shibalay and Harirampur upazilas.
Manikganj Fire Brigade's Station Officer Jihad Hossain said most of the seven bodies found were of children and women, bdnews24 online reported.
MV Mostofa-3, on its way to Daulatdia, sank about 135 km west of the capital Dhaka after being hit by cargo vessel MV Nargis-1 soon after leaving Paturia dock on Sunday.
Authorities had called off the rescue operation on Monday after the ferry was tugged out of the river and brought to the banks.
The death toll was 71 until Tuesday afternoon. Some 50 passengers managed to swim ashore or were rescued by other ferries.
Fire service rescuers, however, kept up the search for victims, said Hossain.
The bodies would be kept at the BIWTA Passenger Sheds in Paturia ferry landing station, he said.
Officials have said they had no idea about the exact number of passengers onboard as operators of private ferries, which also lack safety standards, usually do not maintain formal lists.
The government has ordered a probe into the cause of the tragedy.
Bangladesh, through which over 230 rivers criss-cross, heavily relies on ferries for transport but has a poor safety record.
This month, at least five people were killed when an overloaded ferry with 200 passengers capsized in an estuary in southern Bangladesh.