At least 37 people died when an overcrowded night ferry caught fire in Bangladesh on Friday, police said, as terrified passengers leaped overboard to escape the blaze. The latest maritime tragedy to hit the impoverished low-lying nation happened in the early hours in a river near Jhalokathi, 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Dhaka. Local television showed images of burnt motorcycles and gutted cabins inside the boat. Shell-shocked survivors and their relatives crowded the shore as fire service and coast guard divers scoured the muddy waters. The accident was the latest in a string of similar incidents in the delta country crisscrossed by rivers. Experts in the South Asian nation of 170 million people blame poor maintenance, lax safety standards at shipyards and overcrowding.