India ferry death toll hits 113, 90 missing

GUWAHATI, India - The toll from one of India’s worst ferry disasters rose to 113 on Thursday as rescuers fished out the bodies of more passengers who drowned when the boat sank in a river in Assam state.

Chandan Brahma, transport minister of the northeastern Indian state, said a search was still on for bodies of other victims of the double-decker ferry which capsized in the Brahmaputra river during a storm on Monday.

“Four more bodies were recovered today by fishermen at India’s borders along Bangladesh, taking the number of bodies recovered (so far) to 113,” Brahma told reporters in Guwahati, Assam’s main city.

The boat was on its way from the district of Dhubri, 300 kilometres (186 miles) from Guwahati to Fakirganj in Assam.

Rescuers and soldiers have salvaged the mangled wreck of the 80-foot (25-metre) ferry, which was reportedly crammed with up to 350 people despite its operating capacity of 225.

Some 150 of the ferry commuters swam to the banks of the fast-flowing Brahmaputra while 90 others remain missing, according to official estimates.

The Brahmaputra, which is eight kilometres wide at the scene of the accident, flows through northeastern India into Bangladesh and out into the Bay of Bengal.

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