Eastern Times, Dhaka, 5 April: The death toll from the launch capsize in the Bangldesh’s Shitalakkhya River on Sunday has climbed to 27 after a rescue ship pulled out the launch from the water.
Five of the bodies were recovered on Sunday while the Navy, Coast Guard, fire service and police recovered a total of 22 bodies on Monday, confirmed Narayanganj Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Shameem Bepari.
Of the 27 dead bodies recovered till 4:30pm on Monday, 16 were women, nine men and two children. Many more are still missing but the rescue operation has been stopped after bringing up the ship, said Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah.
Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah said a seven-member probe committee headed by Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Kharija Tahera Bobby has been formed to investigate the incident.
He also said, the bodies have been handed over to the families and the district administration granted Tk25,000 to each of the deceased’s family for the burial process.
Besides, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) formed a four-member investigation committee, led by BIWTA director (Maritime Security) Rafiqul Islam, as per the direction of BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq.
Around 7pm on Sunday, the passenger vessel, ML Sabit Al Hasan, sank after colliding with the cargo ship, SKL-3, at the mouth of the Syedpur Koyla Ghat on the Shitalakkhya River in Munshiganj. Police and onlookers said the cargo vessel fled the scene after the collision.
The launch had an estimated 150 passengers. Port Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Deepak Chandra Saha confirmed that 50-60 of them were able to swim to the two banks, but three of them had to be rushed to the hospital.
Narayanganj naval police OC Md Shahidul Alam said : “The launch, which was on its way to Munshiganj from Narayanganj Central Launch Terminal, reached a place near the under construction bridge in Charsaidpur area of Shitalakkhya River and was hit by the cargo ship.
Narayanganj District Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defense Abdullah Al Arefin on Sunday said: “Due to the storm, we were late in starting the rescue work. However, the rescue work is still ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the relatives of the passengers who went missing in the launch sinking are crowding on the banks of Shitalakkhya in search of their relatives.