Hundreds of local people anxiously wait on the bank of river Padma as divers search for bodies of passengers of a launch that capsized in the river in Lauhajang upazila of Munshiganj on Monday. Photo: Star
A launch carrying over 250 passengers capsized in Padma River in Lauhajang upazila of Munshiganj due to strong current this morning leaving at least two people dead.
At least 91 passengers were still missing till 9:30pm when the report was filed.
One of the deceased was identified as Hira Akhtar, 20, daughter of Nurul Haque of Shariatpur while identity of another victim could not be known immediately, said Tofazzel Hossain, officer-in-charge of Lauhajang Police Station.
A woman wails for her near ones who along with at least 250 launch passengers drown in the Padma river at Lauhajang upazila of Munshiganj on Monday. Photo: Star
Divers from Fire Brigade and Civil Defence and Bangladesh Navy with the help of local people rescued around 100 passengers from the river at about 7:30pm, Deputy Commissioner Md Saiful Hassan told our Munshiganj correspondent.
The rescue vessel MV Rustam already reached the spot and it will take part in the rescue operation immediately after tracing location of the sunken launch, Shipping Minister, Shahjahan Khan said.
Shahjahan Khan said that around 91 people remain missing in the accident and a list in this regard has already been prepared.
An overcrowded launch in the Padma river. Star file photo
The shipping minister made an announcement before media that around Tk 1.05 lakh would be given to the victims’ family members on behalf of the Bangladesh BIWTA.
Around Tk 20 thousand will be given to family members of the victims on behalf of the district administration, DC Saiful Hassan also made the announcement.
Pinak-6 sank in the middle of Padma when it was going to Mawa from Kawrakandi terminal around 11:00am, said Tofazzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Lauhajang Police Station.
The launch capsized as the river was rough due to stormy weather, the OC said.
Responding to a query over the progress of the rescue operation, Shahjahan Khan said the rescue operation is going on and it will star in a full swing after arrival of the rescue vessel MV Rustam.
Meanwhile, communication minister Obaidul Quader and local Awami League lawmaker Mrinal Kanti Das visited the spot.
Rapid Action Battalion has sent a helicopter to strengthen the rescue work, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of legal and media wing of Rab headquarters.
Several hundred relatives of victims and locals gather on the back of the Padma river at Mawa to see recovery of launch that sinks with 250 passengers on Monday. Photo: Anisur Rahman
The helicopter is patrolling the river area to extend assistance to the rescue team to trace the victims.
Department of shipping has formed a four-member probe body headed by its Engineer and Ship Surveyor, Nazmul Haque while Shipping Ministry has also formed a seven-member probe committee headed by its Joint Secretary Nurur Rahman to investigate the accident.
The probe bodies have been asked to submit their reports by the next seven and 10 working days respectively, Shipping Minister, Shahjahan Khan told The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the army, navy, coast guard, fire brigade, BIWTA and others authorities concerned to work sincerely in this regard, PM’s Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil told UNB.
He said that the Prime Minister is receiving information time to time from Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan about the progress of salvage work of the sunken launch.
The Shipping Minister is now at the spot as per the directive of the Prime Minister for supervising the rescue activities, Shakil said.
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