At least eight people died while some 35 others went missing after a launch sank in the Shitalakkhya yesterday evening near Char Muktapur, between Narayanganj and Munshiganj.
Locals and witnesses said MV Madinar Alo from Matlab in Chandpur was heading towards Narayanganj and it sank around 7:00pm after colliding with oil tanker OT Shitalakkhya.
Of the deceased, seven were identified as Saiful Alam Patowari, 35, upazila assistant education officer; Ripa, 18, of Lalpur village in Gagaria; Sabuj Mia, 40, and his son Shakil, 11, of Kandi village in Matlab; Monwara, 45, of Kalipura village of Matlab; Bulbul of Matlab; and Durbati Rani Barman, 28, of Abdullahpur village of Munshiganj.
Monwara Begum died after being admitted to Munshiganj Sadar Hospital.
Rakibul Hasan, who managed to swim ashore, said, “The number of passengers was more than the usual due to the hartal.” According to him, the launch was carrying around 200 passengers.
He said many chose to take the river route since a very few vehicles were plying the roads.
The association of launch owners claimed that there were only 50 people onboard the launch.
Officer-in-Charge of Munshiganj Police Station Shahidul Islam initially said that around 50 people were missing.
Witnesses and survivors, however, claimed the number was four times that.
The sunken launch was detected near Metro cement factory. Salvage vessel of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) MV Rustom reached the spot around 8:30pm and was toeing the launch ashore till filing of the report at 1:20am.
Meanwhile, BIWTA formed a three-member probe committee headed by Chief Engineer of shipping department Shafiqul Islam. The committee was asked to submit a report within three days.
2 bodies recovered in Munshiganj
Two burnt bodies of a mother and her son were recovered from the Charkisharganj area near Munshiganj Pourashabha on Wednesday morning.
The deceased were identified as Fahim, 7, a class-one student from a local Kindergarten School and his mother Ismat Ara, 25, wife of Ali Azgar.
Ismat’s husband Ali Asgar has been remained absconding since the incident unearth.
According to sources, Ali Asgar might kill his wife and son and flew away from the spot, or the incident might take place due to the gas cylinder explosion.
However, Ismat’s father Yusuf Gazi said, “She set herself on fire in her husband’s room along with her son at around 9:30 on Tuesday night.”
On the other hand, no evidence of gas cylinder explosion was found in the house at around 11am on Wednesday morning.
Ismat was taken to Munshiganj General Hospital where the Emergency Unit doctor declared her dead at around 10pm, while Fahim succumbed to his serious burn injuries in the ambulance on his way to Dhaka Medical College Hospital at around 11pm on the day.
Sonargaon police recovered the bodies around 8:30am on Wednesday.
Sonargaon Thana’s OC MD Yunus Ali told banglanews that they had committed suicide by setting themselves on fire with Kerosene and an unnatural death case was filled in this regard.
The bodies were sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for autopsy.
7 bodies recovered as launch capsize
50 feared missing in Sitalakhya
Seven bodies, including those of two women and a baby, were recovered till 10:30pm on Wednesday after a launch capsized in the River Sitalakhya near Madanganj in Narayanganj, with 50 others feared missing.
The launch from Chandpur, ML Madinar Alo, with around 150 passengers capsized in the river at about 7:00pm.
A team of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority divers was continuing search for the missing till 10:30pm.
They said strong current and darkness of night made their task difficult. Salvage vessel MV Hamza rushed from Narayangaj to the spot, but could not locate the sunken launch.
The accident occurred when an oil-loaded tank lorry hit the launch. Locals confirmed the death of a passenger, Monwara Begum, 70, while she was being taken to the Munshiganj sadar hospital.
After the launch had drowned, another launch, Darashiko, rescued 45 people while some of the passengers swam ashore. A rescued passenger, Rakibul, who boarded the launch from Shatnol station under Matlab in Chandpur, said there were around 150 passengers in the launch.
The Munshiganj sadar police, additional district magistrate and officer-in-charge of Narayanganj sadar police rushed to spot as the spot falls between Munshi-ganj and Narayanganj.
Munshiganj deputy commissioner Azizul Alam could not be contacted as his cell phone was found switched off.
Officer-in-charge of Narayanganj model police station Md Akter Hossain said the divers of BIWTC and fire service were conducting search in the river but they did not find anybody nor the launch till the report was written.
Narayanganj deputy commissioner Md Samsur Rahman and police super Sheikh Nazmul Alam rushed to the spot.