Relatives and villagers gather on the bank of Golachipa river in Patuakhali where a launch capsized Saturday afternoon. Photo: Star
Eight more bodies were recovered today from inside the launch that capsized in Golachipa river in Patuakhali yesterday, bringing the death toll to 16.
Police identified eight of the victims as Tinni Akhtar, 6, Mizanur Rahman, 45, Renu Akhtar, 25, Narayan Chandra, 65, Rashida Begum, 50, Nasima Akhtar, 45, and Wahida Begum, 30, of Putuakhali and Joynal Abedin, 35, of Narayanganj.
Meanwhile, in line with the directives of the shipping ministry, a five-member committee has been formed with Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Director Md Hossain as its chief to find out the reason behind the accident.
The committee has also been asked to submit its findings before the ministry within the next seven days, Putuakhali port officer Badrul Alam told The Daily Star.
The members of Fire Service and Civil Defence and Bangladesh Coast Guard retrieved the bodies after resuming the rescue operation around 6:00am today, reports our Patuakhali correspondent quoting Sayemuzzaman, acting upazila nirbahi officer of Golachipa union.
The body of a child was retrieved around 5:30pm when it was being awashed away by a current in the river.
At least 25 passengers are still missing till filing this report in the morning.
The local administration has been distributing Tk 20,000 to the family members of each dead victim.
The launch, ML Shathil, sank into the river at Kalagasia with over 60 passengers when a nor’wester lashed the district around 2:30pm.
After the capsize, divers of the fire service recovered eight bodies from the river with the help of locals yesterday.
They were forced to suspend the rescue operation around 11:15pm yesterday due to inclement weather and tide.
Earlier, the same vessel capsized on January 31.
Salvage vessel MV Rustom left Barisal for Golachipa last evening and is expected to reach the spot this noon.
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