DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - A ferry packed with about 200 people capsized in a river in southern Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing 31 people and leaving dozens more missing, authorities said.
Local police chief Mohammad Shahabuddin Khan said about 35 people were rescued after the ferry sank on the Meghna River after colliding with a cargo boat early in the morning. Divers have recovered 31 bodies from inside the sunken ferry, he said.
He said the dead included a young woman found cradling her baby's lifeless body.
"The death toll is likely to rise as more bodies are feared trapped inside," Khan said. "We will get a better picture of the casualties once the sunken ferry is pulled out of the water."
Khan could not specify exactly how many people were still missing, but said "many of those listed missing are feared dead."
One of the divers, Mohammad Alauddin, said there were still bodies inside the sunken ferry, some of them buried under cargo.
Hundreds of anxious people, many of them weeping, gathered near the scene of the accident to look for their loved ones.
The MV Shariatpur-1 was traveling to the capital, Dhaka, from neighboring Shariatpur district to the southwest. The accident site is in Munshiganj district, about 20 miles south of Dhaka.
An investigation has been ordered into the cause of the accident, said Azizul Alam, the area's government administrator.
Alam said rescuers located the ferry in water about 70 feet deep. He said a rescue vessel was trying to pull the sunken boat close to the shore.
Ferry accidents, often blamed on overcrowding, faulty vessels and lax rules, are common in Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation of 160 million people.