DHAKA - Ten people were killed in Bangladesh on Wednesday when a river bank collapsed on top of an overcrowded ferry and sank it, police said, and at least 11 people were missing.

Low-lying Bangladesh, with extensive inland waterways and slack safety standards, has an appalling record of ferry accidents, with casualties sometimes running into the hundreds.

On Wednesday, a steep river bank collapsed and a huge slab of mud fell onto the ferry while it was anchored, Ziaul Hasan, a police official in the southern district of Barisal, told Reuters.

"At least 11 people are still unaccounted for and the search operation is underway," he said, adding that the bodies of 10 people had been found.

"The ferry was overcrowded and carrying about 50 people," he said, adding some passengers managed to swim ashore after the accident.

Overcrowding is a common factor in Bangladeshi ferry accidents but little is done to improve safety even though the government vows to toughen regulations after every big accident.