Launch capsize: Five bodies recovered, 11 rescued alive




Bodies of five women were recovered on Sunday night from the capsized motor-launch at the under-construction Shitalakhya bridge area at Koilaghat in Narayanganj. The identities of the deceased were not received.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) said there were 42 passengers on board the ill-fated launch.

Thousands of people were rushing home on motor-launches after the government announced a seven-day lockdown from today (Monday).

The accident happened at about 6:30pm on Sunday. Body of a young woman was found after the launch was capsized. Besides, 11 injured passengers were rescued and taken to the a hospital in Munshiganj. Later, four bodies of women were found at night.

The rescue operation of Fire Services was hampered due to incessant rain and inclement weather after the evening. Afterward, the rescue operation was resumed.

Narayanganj Bandar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shukla Sarker confirmed journalists about the recovery of five bodies.

Narayanganj BIWTA’s traffic inspector Babu Lal said the capsized motor-launch ‘MV Habib Al Hasan’ was going to Munshiganj through the river Shitalakhya leaving the Narayanganj Launch Terminal after 6:00pm. When the launch reached at Koilaghat area, a cargo vessel hit the launch from its rear side and dragged it upto 50 feet toward the bridge where the launch was capsized.

Alam Mia, a day-labourer, from Munshiganj who managed to save his life swimming across the river, said, “I was on the rooftop of the launch. Suddenly I saw a cargo vessel hit the launch and dragged it toward the Shitalakhya bridge. Then the launch was capsized. I managed to reach the river bank swimming across the river. There were some 50-60 passengers on board the launch. Perhaps, 15 to 20 of them managed to reach the river bank swimming across the river.”

Visiting the spot, it was found that River Police and Fire Service personnel were waiting on the river bank to start the rescue operation. They could not launch their rescue operation due to the rain.

On the other hand, relatives of the victims rushed to the river bank following the accident and started wailing for their near and dear ones.

Bandar Police Station officer-in-charge (OC) Dipak Chandra Saha told reporters that a woman was recovered and sent to the hospital where an on-duty doctor pronounced her dead. Eleven injured passengers were rescued till 8:30pm from the river bank. Of them, eight were given primary treatment and then sent to their respective homes, while there have been undergoing treatment at the hospital.

The rescue ship ‘Prottoy” has arrived at the spot and started salvaging the capsized motor-launch.

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