This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation
Monday, 6 May, 2002,
07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
The number of people known to have died when a ferry sank in Bangladesh is rising rapidly as rescue workers recover more bodies.
One report said 222 corpses had been found as the operation continued on Monday, bringing the death toll to 278.
But this has not been verified by the Bangladeshi authorities, who put the official number of confirmed dead at 67.
The salvage mission has also partially raised the ferry, which sank on Friday after a collision on the Meghna River near the south-eastern port of Chandpur.
More bodies were expected to be found as rescue work continued, in spite of bad weather.
Hundreds of onlookers and grief-stricken relatives remain on the river bank in the hope of identifying the bodies of their loved ones.
The rescue operation has gone ahead despite the difficult and dangerous conditions faced by divers.
This is one of Bangladesh's worst ferry disasters.
They say the final toll may never be known, because some bodies will have been swept away by strong currents.
"Our job is made even harder because there are so many fishermen's nets entangled around the boat," one diver told the BBC.
There is still confusion as to exactly how many people were on the ferry, which did not carry a passenger list.
Survivors say that there were more than 300 people on board, but the Bangladesh Inland Water Authority says that the number was lower.
The government has called an inquiry into the latest incident, but previous attempts to regulate ferries and introduce stricter safety procedures have not been successful.