At least 38 people died in a massive fire that swept through a ferry on Sugandha river in southern Bangladesh on Friday, Reuters reported. The blaze erupted around 3 am on the MV Avijan-10 off the coast of Jhalokati district.

“We have recovered 38 bodies so far,” Kalam Hossain Bhuiyan, a senior fire service official in the district, told Reuters.

Jhalakathi District Administrator Zohor Ali said the toll is likely to increase as over 50 injured people have been admitted to hospital. Of these, some passengers are in a critical condition.

The vessel was carrying at least 500 people. The others are still missing.

Bhuiyan said the fire started in the engine room and quickly ripped through the ferry, which was going to Barguna district from capital Dhaka via Jhalakathi.

The police told AFP that terrified passengers jumped off the vessel to escape the fire and few of them died by drowning.

“A lot of people ran for safety as the fire spread,” a survivor at Barisal Medical College Hospital told AFP. “A lot of people could not get out of their cabins where they were sleeping. Many jumped into the river.”

The vessel was carrying much more passengers than its official capacity of 310.

“We spoke to [the] passengers,” the Jhalakathi district administrator added. “And they said there were between 500 and 700 passengers.”

There was no word on what led to the blaze.

Ferry accidents are common in the South Asian country and experts have blamed lax safety standards at shipyards and overcrowding.

In August, at least 21 people were killed when a boat full of passengers and a sand-laden cargo ship collided. Between April and May, 54 were killed in two separate accidents.