At least 30 killed, dozens injured in Bangladesh after packed ferry catches fire

At least 30 people have died and about 100 injured after a packed ferry caught fire in southern Bangladesh, local officials said.

The blaze on the three-decked vessel started in mid-river near the town of Jhalakathi as it sailed from the capital Dhaka towards the Barguna town.

Some of the victims drowned after jumping into the water.

The number of casualties in the disaster is likely to increase as many of the passengers have severe burns.

“The three-storey Obhijan 10 caught fire mid-river. We have recovered 32 bodies,” local police chief Moinul Islam said.

“The death toll may rise. Most died from the fire and a few by drowning after they jumped into the river,” he said

As many as 500 people were reportedly on board the vessel.

Ferry accidents are not uncommon in Bangladesh with mishaps blamed on poor maintenance, lax safety standards and overcrowding.