DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A speeding truck loaded with iron bars overturned Thursday in heavy rain after its driver apparently lost control, killing 13 passengers in northern Bangladesh, police said.

The truck was traveling from Dhaka and the dead were day laborers who were riding in the back, local police chief Masudur Rahman said. The driver and his assistant fled after the accident, which occurred in Polashbari in Gaibandha district, he said.

Many people choose cheap rides in the back of trucks to their hometowns ahead of the major Islamic festival of Eid-al Fitr next week.

Gaibandha is 189 kilometers (117 miles) north of Dhaka.

Road accidents in Bangladesh are common because of lax enforcement of traffic laws, bad road conditions and speeding. Up to 7,000 people die annually.