As many as 37 people died in Bangladesh on Friday, 24 December, after a packed ferry caught fire in the southern rural town of Jhalokathi, 250 kilometers south of Dhaka, police said. This is the latest in a series of similar accidents that have been happening in the country.
The three-storey Obhijan 10 caught fire mid-river, Moinul Islam, the local police chief told AFP, adding that many people died from the fire and a few by drowning after they jumped into the river.
The incident reportedly took place around 3 am on Friday morning.
Islam told AFP that the fire is believed to have originated at the engine room and then spread across the ferry, which was overly packed with people who were returning to their homes from the capital Dhaka.
Passengers said that between 500 to 700 people were present on the boat which was meant for approximately 300 people.
Some 100 people with burn injuries have been sent to hospitals at Barisal, Islam added.
Experts in the country have blamed "poor maintenance, lax safety standards and overcrowding" for the accident.
Fire has been a frequent source of tragedy in the country.
In August, some 21 persons passed away when a sand laden cargo ship and a boat packed with passengers collided in a lake at eastern Bangladesh.
In July, almost 52 persons died after a fire broke out at a food and beverage factory in Rupganj, an industrial town outside Dhaka.
(With inputs from AFP)