Scores of people are missing after a ferry carrying around 100 passengers sank in a river in Bangladesh following a collision, officials have said.

The MV Sarosh ferry went down after colliding with a barge laden with sand on the Meghna river in Muhshiganj district on Friday.

“So far we have gathered that the ferry was carrying around 100 people and some have swum to the banks,” local police chief Jahangir Hossain told AFP. “A maximum 40 people are feared missing,” he added.

The boat was carrying passengers from the capital Dhaka to the southeastern district of Chandpur, according to Munshiganj’s district administrator Saifuddin Badal.

Authorities said the ferry was not overloaded but the exact number of people on board was uncertain as passenger lists are often not maintained properly in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has a history of boat disasters blamed on lax safety standards and frequent overloading of vessels, AFP reports.

Last March, 147 people were killed after a passenger vessel sank in the Meghna river after colliding with a cargo ship.