November 4, 2005

Pakistani ferry sinks in Indus, 60 drowned

KARACHI, Nov 4 (Reuters) - A passenger ferry believed to be
overloaded sank in Pakistan's Indus river on Friday and 60
people were drowned, government officials said.

The accident came nearly four weeks after an earthquake
killed more than 73,000 people in the country's northern
mountains. "According to our information, 60 people have been
killed," a navy spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Salman Ali,
said of the ferry accident.

The ferry sank near the southern town of Thatta, 70 km (45
miles) east of Karachi. "We have sent our diving and rescue
teams to the area," Ali said.

A provincial spokesman said 80 people were on board the
boat when the accident happened. The cause was being
investigated but it was thought the vessel was overloaded.

"At the moment we feel the boat was overloaded and they
failed to take required precautionary measures," said
provincial government spokesman Salahuddin Haider.

The boat was believed to have been taking people to a
shrine to mark Friday's Eid al-Fitr holiday, which follows the
Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Haider said.

The accident will add to the somber mood of the holiday
festival in Pakistan after the catastrophic earthquake that hit
the north of country on October 8.