32 killed as launch capsizes after collision on Buriganga in Bangladesh

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Thirty-two people are killed as a launch named ML Morning Bird sank near the Farashganj ghat of Buriganga River in Dhaka. The incident happened around 9:30 am on Monday, Fire Service headquarters room In-charge Enayetur Rahman confirmed to Dhaka Tribune.

Meanwhile, media reports, citing the CCTV footage for the horrifying collision, have said that the incident happened at 9:13 am.

At least 30 bodies — 19 men, eight women, and three children — were recovered from the river and two more later died from an injury in Mitford hospital, said Sadarghat Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Rejaul Karim Bhuiyan.

The recovered bodies were also sent to Mitford hospital morgue for further legal proceedings. Most of which were identified and handed over to the families, he added.

Earlier, many of us have gathered within the Shadarghat area in search of their beloved. Rojina Akhter, duty officer of the hearth service headquarters, said ML Morning Bird was hit by another launch, Moyour-2, which was bigger than its size. The launch soon went underwater.

OC Rejaul said Morning Bird was coming from Kathpotti area of Munshiganj with around 50 to 60 passengers when the opposite launch hit it. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), fire service, river police, coast guard and Bangladesh Navy’s diving team administered the operation, he added.

BIWTA Joint Director AKM Arif Uddin told Dhaka Tribune that they need found the drowned launch and tied it up with rope. The rescue vessel, Prottoy, is on its thanks to the spot to tug up the launch. However, its height is stopping it from passing the Kanchpur Bridge and that they are trying to find a special option now.

According to the survivors, around 70 to 80 people got on the launch. However, about 50 people were on board when the launch sank. Many of them managed to swim to the shore, he added.

Locals and eyewitnesses said the larger launch hit the smaller one from the rear. After the blow, ML Morning Bird took a turn and began drowning from the backside.

They also said that accidents are common in ghats like this as launch and boats are docked here during a haphazard manner. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina deeply mourned the deaths and extended her condolences to the victims’ families, said a press release from the press wing of her office. The statement said she was closely monitoring the developments of the rescue and salvage attempts.

Two probe committees formed

The Ministry of Shipping and BIWTA have separately formed two investigation committees over the launch capsize incident in Buriganga River.

Commodore Golam Sadeq, chairman of the BIWTA, confirmed the probe committee to Dhaka Tribune. He said: “The four-member BIWTA committee, headed by Joint Director Joynul Abedin, will submit the report within 72 hours.”

“Thirty bodies are recovered and 20 people swam up to shore thus far,” he added. The BIWTA chairman also said: “As per the planning, the capacity of the launch is to hold 45 passengers but it seems to possess carried few more passengers.

“However, the launch was capsized thanks to a clash with another launch.”

“As most of the bodies are recovered, we are now trying to tug up the drowned launch. Then we’ll have more information on the explanation for the accident,” he added. Meanwhile, the Shipping Ministry has formed a seven-member inquiry committee with Joint Secretary (Development) of the Ministry of Shipping Md Rafiqul Islam Khan because the convener and Director (Shipping) of BIWTA Md Rafiqul Islam because the member secretary.

The ministry issued an office order during this regard on Monday, said a handout. The committee will submit a report back to the Ministry of Shipping within the subsequent seven days.

The committee will make specific recommendations by revealing the explanation for the accident, identifying the person or organization liable for the accident, and mention the steps needed to be taken to stop the accident.

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