150 missing after ferry sinks in Bangladesh: police

DHAKA, March 13, 2012 (AFP) - At least 150 people were missing after a ferry carrying 200 passengers sank in Bangladesh on Tuesday morning, police said, adding that about 35 survivors had been found.

The double-decker Shariatpur 1 ferry was hit by another vessel in the middle of the Meghna river just southeast of the capital Dhaka, local police chief Shahidul Islam told AFP.

"About 35 passengers were rescued by another ferry. But more than 150 passengers remain unaccounted for," Islam said, adding a rescue boat was at the scene trying to locate the sunken vessel.

Coastguards, fire brigade and police rescue workers also rushed to the site after the accident at 2:30 am (2030 GMT Monday).

One rescued passenger, named as Dulal, told local media that eight of his relatives including a brother-in-law and his brother-in-law's wife were missing.

He said most people were asleep when the accident took place.

Boats are the main form of travel in Bangladesh's remote rural areas and accidents are common due to lax safety standards and overloading.

In April last year 32 people were killed after a passenger vessel sank in the Meghna river after colliding with a cargo ship.