Meghna death toll rises to 33

April 23, 2011

Some still missing; sunken launch salvaged
Five more bodies were recovered from the sunken launch MV Bipasha yesterday, raising the death toll to 33.
The launch sank around 1:30am on Thursday after colliding with a stone-laden trawler that had already tipped over in the Meghna at Char Kakoria under Sarail upazila of Brahmanbaria.
Salvage vessel MV Rustom reached the spot Thursday night and continued rescue operation till 8:00 am yesterday, Md Helal Uddin, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO), said.
Rescuers found three bodies floating in the river. Two other bodies were recovered from inside the sunken vessel after dragging it to the shore.
The authorities abandoned the salvage operation at 1:00 pm as there was nobody inside the vessel, the UNO said.
Of the five bodies, two were identified as Md Hatem Ali, 8, son of Md Monir Hossain of Narsingdi, and Abul Hossain, 35, of Kishoreganj, said Md Shahid, sub-inspector of Sarail Police Station.
The rescuers also salvaged answer scripts of HSC exam, cash money and other valuables from the launch, Sarail thana OC Md Jahirul Islam said.
Out of 33 bodies, 30 were handed over to their relatives while three unclaimed bodies–a man aged around 50, a 35-year-old woman, and a 12-year-old boy–were buried at Rajpur graveyard.
Meanwhile, some people, who were passing tense hours on the bank of the river, said they were yet to find their missing family members numbering 10 to 12.
Din Islam, of Lankapatharia village of Sunamganj, said he found the body of his son but his wife and other son could not be traced.
Alal Uddin, of Hossainpur of Mithamon upazila of Kishoreganj, said two of his family members– Sabirun, 8, and Sathi, 3,–are still missing.
A college teacher of Mithamon said he is yet to find his wife and son who might have gone missing in the river while they were trying to swim ashore.
UNO Helal Uddin said some of the passengers may be missing due to heavy current in the river.
Some passengers, who have survived the near death situation, alleged that insufficient light and overloading of passengers were the main causes of the accident.
A three-member probe committee headed by Hasan Mahmud Tareque, chief engineer of the marine department of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, has started investigating the incident.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan along with Brahmanbaria Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Abdul Manna visited the spot at 11:30 am and pledged to provide financial assistances to the family members of the dead.
Tk 30,000 will be provided for a victim’s family and Tk 45,000 for the family with more than one victim.
Besides, more than Tk 30,000 was handed over to the victims’ families from the local fund of DC, district rehabilitation office sources said.
Another seven-member probe committee headed by Brahmanbaria DC was formed to find out the cause of the launch mishap.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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