Launch capsize in Shitalakkhya river: 5 bodies recovered, rescue operation underway

So far, the bodies of five women were recovered after a Munshiganj-bound launch, carrying over 50 passengers, capsized in the Shitalakkhya river in Narayanganj this evening.

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The bodies were recovered after the launch capsize, said Nahida Barek, upazila nirbahi officer of Narayanganj Sadar upazila.

She could not confirm the identities of the deceased. She said seven divers are working on the rescue operation.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Chairman Golam Sadeq earlier told The Daily Star that they were not able to conduct rescue operations due to inclement weather, although rescue ship Prattay and divers were ready.

Babu Lal Baidya, assistant director of BIWTA in Narayanganj launch terminal, said the launch named Sabit Al Hasan left Narayanganj launch terminal for Munshiganj with nearly 50 passengers around 5:56pm.

The launch sank near the third Shitalakkhya Bridge at Koylaghat of Syedpur area when it was hit by a “coaster tanker”, he said.

Chandra Saha, officer-in-charge of Bandar Police Station, told our correspondent over phone from the spot that some15-16 people were rescued from the east bank of the river till 10:00pm. Of them, eight were given first aid and three others are receiving treatment at hospital.

On information, fire service teams rushed to the spot and started the rescue operation with two trawlers, Abdullah Arefin, deputy assistant director of Fire Service and Civil Defense in Narayanganj told to The Daily Star.

The fire service official also said rescue operations are being hampered due to bad weather.

Talking to our Narayanganj correspondent, family and relatives, who are now on the spot, claimed that 10 passengers of the launch remain missing since the incident.

Witnesses said locals rescued 30 passengers of the 50 from the spot.

However, the authorities are yet to comment over missing people.

Dipu, one passenger who managed to come ashore with the help of a trawler, said the Munshiganj-bound launch left the Narayanganj launch terminal around 6:00pm but it capsized around 6:20pm after it was hit by a cargo vessel.

The vessel pushed the passenger launch to Koylaghat area and the launch finally capsized there, he said.

Dipu told our Narayanganj correspondent that he managed to come ashore but his mother remains missing.

Meanwhile, members of Bangladesh Coast Guard also started their rescue operation in the river, according to a message issued by the coast guard sent to media tonight.


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