A ro-ro ferry – Amanat Shah – capsized in the Padma River near the ghat No-5 at Paturia in Manikganj on Wednesday morning.
The ferry was loaded with 15 goods-laden trucks and several motorcycles, Md Zillur Rahman, deputy general manager (DGM) of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) at Aricha, told The Business Standard.
He said, "The ferry, after unloading two to three vehicles, capsized near the ghat No-5 at Paturia in Manikganj."
"Rescue efforts are underway," he added.
The fire service divers could not rescue any people from the sunken ferry until 12:30 pm. They were continuing the rescue operation until this report was filed.
Officers and employees of various departments including police and fire service are present at the accident site.
Swapan Bhattacharya, a passenger of the ferry, said when the ferry started unloading passengers and vehicles at the terminal, water started entering it and within a couple of minutes, it sank.
At that time, he jumped into the water leaving his motorcycle and swam ashore safely, added the passenger.
His motorcycle has not yet been recovered. There were no buses or private cars on the ferry, he said, adding that there were several motorcycles and 15-16 goods-laden trucks, said Swapan.
Sareng Mukhlesur Rahman, in-charge of the ferry, said the ferry tilted and sank at one stage while unloading the vehicles. The amount of water in the submerged area is low and there is not much current in the river. So, the reason behind the incident is still not clear.
A diver of the fire service team said he had conducted rescue drives in the sunken ferry several times. He had not been able to identify anyone yet.
Rescue operations are being hampered as trucks are congested in the sunken ferry.
Manikganj Superintendent of Police Golam Azad Khan said, "Hundreds of policemen are on duty at the accident site. Rescue operations are underway."
The details about the accident will be informed later, he said.
BIWTC DGM Md Zillur Rahman said the rescue ship Hamza has arrived to salvage the sunken ferry.
No casualties were reported in this accident till 12:30pm, he added.