This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation
Tuesday, 7 May, 2002,
11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Bangladesh rescue workers have now recovered nearly 300 bodies from a ferry which sank last Friday, officials and press reports say.
Divers found another 20 corpses on Tuesday morning amid the twisted metal of the ferry, which was salvaged from the bottom of the Meghna River on Monday.
Those bodies not already claimed are being taken to ports along the Meghna in the hope they will be identified by relatives and friends.
"Someone please take me to my son," said one tearful woman, Saleha Begum. "I can't bear it any more."
Most of the dead are thought to have come from the coastal district of Patuakhali, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) downstream from Chandpur.
He says the accident may galvanise the government, which has called an inquiry, into taking drastic steps to improve ferry safety.
Previous attempts to regulate ferries and introduce stricter safety procedures have not been successful.
Ferries in Bangladesh rarely carry complete passenger lists or even issue tickets, explaining the confusion over exact passenger numbers.
On Monday, Shipping Minister Akbar Hossain said it appeared nearly 400 people had been on board the Salahuddin-2 when it went down late at night in bad weather.
Officials say about 100 of them were rescued or swam to safety.
But some survivor accounts speak of as many as 600 people being on the boat, twice the number it was authorised to carry.
Rescuers say the exact number of dead will never be known as many corpses were carried away by strong currents.
But our correspondent says claims the doomed vessel was hopelessly overcrowded, at first denied by the authorities, now seem correct.