26 passengers still missing

February 21, 2009

Launch Tragedy
26 passengers still missing
Our Correspondent, Barisal
A day after launch ML Fahmida Happy Express went down in the Kirtonkhola near Barisal, at least 26 people are still missing.
Hundreds of relatives were seen waiting at the riverbank for missing people. Many of them were searching for their dear ones by boats, trawlers, and speedboats. They were even using nets of local fishermen to find the victims. Their attempts, however, were unsuccessful.
Port Officer of Barisal Rafikul Islam told The Daily Star that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has formed two enquiry committees that have three members each.
Barisal administration’s three-member enquiry committee led by Additional District Magistrate Abdullah Al Baki started its investigation yesterday.
Baki said, “We visited the spot, talked to the injured, rescued victims, relatives of the dead and witnesses and surveyed the condition of the launch and the cargo vessel that hit the launch and caused it to capsize.” He said they also checked the documents of the two vessels.
BIWTA officials could not say exactly how many people were onboard the vessel as tickets were not sold to all passengers.
They said unskilled crew running vessels, not having hydraulic steering system, absence of safety equipment, unfit vessels and design flaws that trap passengers inside increase the number of fatality in accidents on waterways.
The detained eight crew members of the cargo vessel MV Sanim were sent to jail yesterday.
Sub-inspector Shahid of Barisal Police Station lodged a case against the crew Thursday night.
Hayatul Islam, assistant commissioner of Barisal Metropolitan Police and a member of the Barisal administration’s probe body, told The Daily Star that
the crew in preliminary interrogation said the accident happened due to the lack of experience of quartermaster Mohammad Yusuf, who was piloting the vessel when it rammed the launch.
At least 27 people died and 26 others went missing after ML Fahmida Happy Express with over 100 onboard capsized in the Kirtonkhola in Barisal after a collision with the cargo vessel MV Sanim Thursday morning.
Out of the 27 bodies, 21 have been identified so far. They are Dipti Dey, 30, Mintu Dhali, 50, Rashida Begum, 40, Rumi Begum, 10, Manik Lal Dev, 45, Safura Khatun, 22, Mehendiganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Sangkar Kumar Majumder, 40, Rahima Begum, 23, Johura Khatun, 45, Shahid Farazi, 50, Ratan Majhi, 50, Kabir Majhi, 30, Abul Kasem Gazi, 55, Shakil, 8, Shathi Begum, 25, Jasimuddin, 18, Onik Dev, 11, Halima Begum, 23, Sima Akter, 19, Oyishee, 8 and Rokeya Begum, 38.

Courtesy of www.thedailystar.net

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