At least 11 people died and some 30 others have gone missing following a fire and subsequent sinking of a trawler in Bangladesh, police said Tuesday.

The accident occurred around 8:00 p.m. Monday on the Surma River in the northern province of Sylhet, when a stove caused a fire on board that spread rapidly, according to regional police official Shahjahan Munshi.

Munshi told The Daily Star newspaper that the flames sowed panic among the crew and many jumped in the water before the trawler sank.

Local police Superintendent Harunur Rashid said that some 40 passengers managed to swim to the riverbank, adding that the number of missing persons could climb to as many as 50, bdnews24 reported.

According to Rashid, most of the river boat's crew were quarry workers.

Shipwrecks are frequent in Bangladesh, above all in the Ganges Delta, which covers the greater part of its territory and is formed by a confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna estuaries.

Most of the time vessels sink due to overloading or their state of disrepair. EFE