Launch capsize toll shoots to 73

Bodies of 37 more passengers were recovered from the Meghna river Wednesday morning, sending the death toll from Tuesday’s launch capsize to 73.

Rescuers recovered the bodies after they resumed rescue operation around 7:00am at Char Kishori in Gazaria upazila of the district where the launch, MV Shariatpur-1, capsized after a cargo vessel hit it around 2:30am Tuesday.

Though divers traced the sunken launch some 70 feet under water but it could not be salvaged till 2:30pm when the report was filed.

The first phase of the rescue operation ended Tuesday night after the rescuers recovered 36 bodies.

More than 200 passengers still remain missing, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.

To expedite the salvage operation, rescue vessel Hamza reached Char Kishori from Barisal around 1:30am on Wednesday to join another rescue vessel Rustom, which was working at the spot since Tuesday morning.

Hamza and Rustom started operation to salvage the sunken launch from the river around 7:30am. The vessels dragged the launch towards the shore around 9:00am and kept it six metres off the bank.

But officials of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) said it would take time to lift the 200-tonne launch, as MV Rustam and Hamza together cannot lift anything weighing more than 120 tonnes.

Talking to The Daily Star in the morning, Munshiganj Deputy Commissioner Azizul Alam said 40 of the dead victims were identified so far and handed over to their families.

Our reporter covering the spot said wailing of the relatives has created a heart- rending scene at Char Kishori as hundreds of people rushed there in the morning for their dear ones after the rescue operation resumed. The relatives spend the whole night at a temporary shelter centre set up at Char Kishoreganj adjacent to the spot.


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