They had known each other since childhood. They went to school together, grew up together as friends. Together, as if through a miracle, they went abroad in search of a better life.
They found employment. They were happy that at long last their fortunes were about to change. That was not to be, for what lay in store for them was a tragic end.
They died as they had lived, in close friendship. Death came to them at the same time, making sure their friendship endured even if life in the end cheated them.
Rescuers recovered the bodies of Elahi Hossain, 31, son of Abdus Satter and Alauddin Mollik, 34, son of Shahadat Mollik of Ishwardi upazila in Pabna along with another Bangladeshi Faruk Khan, 38, son of Mohammad Kashem Khan of Sirajdikhan in Munshiganj yesterday.
They were killed at a construction site in Petaling Jaya of Malaysia on Monday night when a segmented box girder of an elevated guideway collapsed on them at 8:30pm local time on Monday, Musharrat Jebin, second secretary (labour) at Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, told The Daily Star over the phone.
Of the victims, Elahi and Alauddin were friends who migrated to Malaysia in May.
“As they couldn't make a good living by working in the country, they had decided to go abroad in search of a better life,”
Milon Hossain, elder brother of Elahi, told The Daily Star.
“When they were here, they couldn't spend time together in the daytime. But they would meet in the evening after their work regularly,” Milon said over the phone yesterday.
“They sometimes argued over different issues. But they used to take all decisions together,” he said.
Alauddin was married and has three children aged between one and six years. Elahi was single.
“My husband could not hear our little daughter Ashfa speak the word Baba [father]. He asked me at noon on Monday if our daughter had learnt to speak,” Shampa Khatun, wife of Alauddin, lamented with her one-year-old daughter in her lap.
“I can't see my future. How will I take care of my daughter?” she cried at her home in Joynagar in Ishwardi.
Their families spent Tk 4 lakh each to send them to Malaysia in the hope of better days coming in their lives.
“I have lost my son. I have lost my dreams and everything,” said Elahi's father Abdus Sattar, 70, as he mourned the youngest of his four sons.
Meanwhile, the bereaved family members of Alauddin could not talk to us over the phone. The family of the third victim, Faruk, could not be contacted.
The three used to work legally as construction workers for Malaysian Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp).
The bodies were sent to Sungai Buloh Hospital near Kuala Lumpur for autopsies and will be sent back home by today or tomorrow, according to the Bangladesh mission in Malaysia.
Embassy official Jebin said the employer had assured them of financial support to send back the bodies and due compensations to the victims' families.
Meanwhile, MRT Corp CEO Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid resigned yesterday following the accident, the Malaysian daily The Star reported.
"I have done my best, but I have evidently failed and therefore will be handing over my duties. I was told that some security measures were not followed by the sub-contractors and if that really is the case, I will make sure that MRT Corp never works with them again," he told a press conference at the site yesterday.
He said that despite his departure from the company, he would ensure that the families of the deceased were given justice.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has expressed his shock and called for an investigation into the incident.
Our Pabna correspondent Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu contributed to this report.