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Search for boat survivors continues

Grieving relatives and survivors have gathered on the banks of a turbulent river in north-east India for a second day, waiting for news of their loved ones missing since a heavily packed ferry capsized, killing more than a 100 people and leaving another 150 missing.

Search efforts appeared to have hit a plateau with divers only finding three more bodies today, taking the death toll to 106.

Ajibar Rahman wept as he waited for news of a missing son and daughter.

The family was on the boat, and Mr Rahman and one son made it to shore but the other two children were still missing.

Murzina Begum, 30, has been waiting for news of her aunt who was on the ferry on the Brahmaputra river when it overturned and broke into two pieces in stormy weather late on Monday.

Mohan Lal, a senior paramilitary officer supervising the search efforts, said search efforts would continue.

About 350 people were on board the packed vessel, and survivors said that about 150 of those were either rescued or swam to safety. The ferry was a daily service that connected several small riverside villages and islands to the main district town.

The accident occurred near Fakiragram village in the west Dhubri district, about 215 miles west of Gauhati, capital of Assam state.

The area is close to where the Brahmaputra River enters Bangladesh, and officials across the border have been alerted to watch out for bodies of victims that may have been swept away by the powerful currents of the river.

The area is dotted with riverside settlements and islands, and boats are often the only mode of transport. Most ferries are poorly built and often overcrowded, with little regard for safety regulations. The state government has ordered an investigation into the accident and asked investigators to inspect the condition of the boats operating in the area.

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