Traders Satyaranjan Banik and Abdur Rouf are two friends from Munshiganj. They journey by launch from Munshiganj to Dhaka everyday for 2o years. After finishing work, they return to Munshiganj from Dhaka in the afternoon. As usual they set out for Dhaka in a launch named ‘Morning Bird’ from Talpatti of Munisganj at 7:30am. The launch reached near Sadarghat Terminal at 8:45am. The passengers of the launch were preparing to get down. At that time, a launch in Sadarghat pushed Morning Bird and the launch overturned instantly.
Satyaranjan Banik has died but fortunately Abdur Rouf survived.
When asked about the launch capsize, Abdur Rouf said, “The launch reached very close to Sadarghat. We were preparing to get down. An empty launch in the ghat pushed our launch. We all cried out in fear. In thirty seconds the launch overturned. We were in the lower deck. Water rushed in and we were trying to survive. I was gasping. I was able to come to surface water. But my friend Satyaranjan could not and he died.”
Aggrieved Rouf said he knows many of the passengers who died. These people come to Dhaka from Munshiganj everyday. After finishing their work, they return to Munshiganj.
Rouf said, “There were 50 to 60 passengers in our launch. In accordance with rules, the launch was being anchored in the ghat. Another launch pushed and killed the people. I could also have been die.”
Satyaranjan’s daughter Dola Rani comes to Mitford after receiving the news of launch capsize. Photo: Asaduzzaman
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Satyaranjan’s elder daughter Dola Banik said, “My father has a shop in Mitford. I live in Dhaka. My father comes to Dhaka from Munshiganj and returns after work. My father came to my house the day before yesterday. I told my father not to journey by launch due to coronavirus. Stay in my house and run your business. But my father did not listen to me. He went forever.”
Relatives bewailing at Mitford
Fruiterer Abu Sayeed set out at 7pm for Dhaka from Munshiganj to buy fruits from Badamtali area near Sadarghat. He embarked a launch from Talpatti of Munshiganj. Their relatives are not finding any news about Abu Sayeed.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, his wife Noor Jahan Begum said, “Our business was shut for many days due to coronavirus outbreak. There is no income. Now business reopens. My husband set out for Dhaka to buy fruits. He did not take breakfast as he wanted to catch the launch.”
Abu Sayeed’s wife Noor Jahan bursts out in tears at Mitford.
All bodies recovered from the launch capsize have been kept at the morgue of Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital in Old Dhaka.
Fire service director general brigadier general Sajjad Hossain said, “We have been able to recover 25 bodies. We are searching for more bodies.
About the accident, he said an investigation committee will be formed and the cause of the accident could be known.
This story rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.