This 800-passenger-capacity launch MV Karnaphuli-1, overloaded with around 2,500 people, developed cracks at the bottom in mid-Meghna in Mehendiganj upazila under Barisal district yesterday, forcing its anchoring at a terminal at Kaliganj in the upazila and evacuation of the people on board. PHOTO: STAR
Over 2500 home-bound passengers narrowly escaped a major blow yesterday when they were evacuated midway after a crack developed at the bottom of their triple deck launch in mid-Meghna yesterday.
Crew of MV Karnafuli-1 were forced to anchor the vessel at a terminal at Kaliganj in Mehendiganj upazila around 1:30pm.
At least 7/8 passengers sustained minor injuries while they were being evacuated from the vessel, said Ujjal Kumar Dey, officer in-charge of Mehendiganj Police Station.
AK Shahidulla, River Port officer in Barisal, said the launch owned by one Md Haji Salahuddin, had the capacity to carry around 800 passengers but it left Sadarghat terminal in the capital with over 2500 passengers on board around 7:30am.
ORDEAL OF HOME-BOUND PEOPLE: Above, passengers wait for alternative transport after their evacuation from the Karnaphuli-1 launch at Kaliganj in Mehandiganj upazila under Barisal district yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
Saidur Rahaman, Master of the launch, said the passengers raised a hue and cry after seeing water gushing through the crack developed at the bottom of the deck while crossing the Meghna River near Mehendiganj at noon.
Hearing the screams, the crew of the launch immediately anchored the vessel at the Kaliganj terminal and evacuated all the passengers.
Later, the home-bound people left Kailganj by locally arranged small boats and other alternative transports, added Shahidulla.
There was no reports of any casualties till filing this report at 7:45pm yesterday.
Some of the passengers take a risky ride on a small trawler to cross the mighty Meghna. PHOTO: STAR