A mother cries her eyes out yesterday for her son who went missing as a boat caught fire and sank in the river Surma in Sunamganj on Monday night. Photo: Star
At least 11 people, including three women and five children, died and 30 others went missing when a boat caught fire and sank in the Surma river in Sunamganj Monday night.
The Netrakona-bound boat from Companiganj was ferrying around 100 labourers home from a stone quarry in Chhatak upazila.
"Around 8:30pm, a fire originated from a kerosene stove engulfed the vessel when it was crossing Setura and Protapur villages at Duarabazar upazila.
"The passengers jumped into the river in panic," Harun-ur-Rashid, superintendent of police (SP) of Sunamganj, told The Daily Star.
Md Tareque, sub-station officer of Chhatak Fire Service and Civil Defence, said, "Six bodies were recovered from the river until the rescue effort was stopped due to heavy fog around 3:00am yesterday."
Five more bodies were recovered scouring the river after search operation resumed yesterday morning, he said, adding that the bodies were badly burnt and hardly recognisable.
Rescue workers and locals said around 50 to 60 passengers managed to swim ashore. But 30 others remained missing as of filing this report last night.
Of the deceased, four were identified as Rokeya, 30, of Barabari village in Khaliajuri upazila, Kohinoor Mia, 12, Roman, 12, and Sakib, 8.
Only the family of Rokeya had received her body for burial, said SP Rashid, adding that the rest of the victims, whose bodies were burnt beyond recognition, were buried after collecting their DNA samples.
"The rescue operation is still going on and it will continue until 10:00am tomorrow [today]," said Selim Newaz, officer-in-charge of Duarabazar Police Station.
The passengers were going to their village homes in Kishoreganj's Nikly, Mithamoin upazilas and Netrakona's Khaliajhuri upazila.
Yamin Chowdhury, deputy commissioner of Sunamganj, announced a compensation of Tk 10,000 for each victim's family.