Rescue workers found 26 more bodies in the Meghna river in Bangladesh on Thursday near the scene of a ferry accident earlier this week, taking the death toll from the disaster to 138, police said.
The packed Shariatpur 1 vessel, carrying about 200 passengers, sank rapidly early Tuesday after a collision with an oil barge in the dark about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka.
Boats scouring the water found the bodies on Thursday as the search continued for several people still reported missing, district police chief Shahabuddin Khan said.
"The death toll is now 138," he told AFP, adding some bodies were discovered more than 15 kilometres (10 miles) downstream.
"We suspect they are those who jumped from the ill-fated vessel at the time of the accident but found the river too big to cross by swimming," he said.
Some desperate relatives whose loved ones are unaccounted for have hired fishing trawlers to scour the river, one of the largest and widest in the country, the online edition of the Daily Star said.
The accident was Bangladesh's worst ferry disaster in more than seven years. In February 2005, 149 people were killed when a ferry sank in the Buriganga river on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Boats are the main form of travel in Bangladesh's remote rural areas and accidents are common due to lax safety standards and overloading.
Source: AFP South Asian Edition