Story highlights

A passenger ferry capsizes after colliding with a cargo ship near Bangladesh's capital

Some passengers swam to shore but dozens of people are missing, police say

"We can be sure of casualties once we can retrieve the sunken ferry," says local police chief

Relatives of the missing gather at the scene as the search for survivors continues

Dozens of people are missing after a ferry capsized on the river Meghna near the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, following a collision with a ship carrying sand, police said Friday.

The ferry, which had left Narayanganj Friday morning bound for Matlab, collided with the cargo ship about 22 miles south of Dhaka, Munshiganj district police chief Shahabuddin Khan told CNN.

Hundreds of people gathered at the scene in Gazaria, in the district of Munshiganj, in search of relatives missing in the accident.

Local police and witnesses said some 50 people made it to shore and others were pulled alive from the river. “Many passengers are still missing and we can be sure of casualties once we can retrieve the sunken ferry,” Khan said.

Rescuers from the fire service, civil defense and police are continuing the search for survivors, he said. No casualties have been reported so far.

Ferry accidents are common because of the country’s vast river network and a lack of monitoring of river transport.

At least 112 people were killed on the river Meghna in March last year when their boat collided with a cargo ferry.

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