• Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meghna death toll climbs to 28

Star Online Report
A crowd waits on the shore at Meghna river in Doulatpur of Gazaria in Munshiganj where a launch with over 200 passengers capsized Friday morning. Photo: Star
A crowd waits on the shore at Meghna river in Doulatpur of Gazaria in Munshiganj where a launch with over 200 passengers capsized Friday morning. Photo: Star

The death toll from yesterday's Munshiganj launch capsize climbed to 28 as rescuers recovered 11 more bodies from Meghna river this morning.

The double-decker MV Miraj-4 heading for Shariatpur from Dhaka sank in the Meghna in Munshiganj with over 200 people on board around 3:30pm yesterday at Doulatpur in Gazaria upazila during a nor'wester.

Amid the on-going search operation, rescuers could recover 17 bodies till last night whereas over 100 more are feared missing.

Identities of 19 deceased are: Md Jamal Shikdar, 50, Abir Hossain Sikdar, 28; Mahi, 4, Sumona, 8, Jalil Malot, 50, Manik, 14, Abdullah Al Redwan, 40, Rashida Begum, 60, Khorshed Ali Khondokar, 35, Osman Gani Mollah, 40, Ismail Fakir, 65, Khrishna Mandol, 50, Abdul Jalil, 55, Aklima Akhter Ria, Rahima Begum, 55, Laily Begum, Ritu Akhter, 12, Tumpa Begum, 30, and Mannan Dewan, 50.

Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj district Md Saiful Hasan Badal confirmed the identities and told our Munshiganj correspondent that the bodies have been handed over to the victims' families.

Officials of the administration and fire service, quoting locals, said 40-50 passengers had made it to shore alive. Most of them swam ashore with injuries, the correspondent reports .

Locals started rescue operations immediately after the accident and divers of fire service and civil defence and Bangladesh Coast Guard joined in later on.

Rescue vessel Prattay was at the site since 6:30pm yesterday and as of 8:00pm today, it traced the launch from under 80 feet water.

Amid strong current, the launch is yet to drag towards the shore as it deepened into the sand under the water.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people including family members of victims and missing passengers thronged the shore near the accident spot.

They were found wailing and chanting slogans against local administration due to the "delay" in rescue operation.

Later, police tried to console them.

The air was heavy with the wailing of survivors who had lost their loved ones. Some were hoping and praying that their loved ones had survived by a miracle.

The traumatised, bewildered and angry survivors blamed the captain and over-loading of the vessel for the accident.

This is the second launch accident in two weeks. At least 15 people drowned when a launch carrying over 60 passengers went down in the Golachipa river in Patuakhali during a nor'wester on May 3.

The Department of Shipping yesterday formed a three-member committee, led by engineer and ship surveyor AFM Sirajul Islam, to identify the cause of the accident. The committee is supposed to submit its report to the authorities concerned in seven working days.

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, local lawmaker Mrinal Kanti Das and officials of the local administration, BIWTA, police visited the spot to oversee rescue operations.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena expressed his deepest condolence to the victims and their family members.

Mozena also thanked the people who were assisting with rescue and recovery operations, a press release of US embassy in Dhaka said today.

Published: 1:32 pm Friday, May 16, 2014

Last modified: 10:13 pm Friday, May 16, 2014

TAGS: Meghna Bangladesh Coast Guard Munshiganj launch capsize MV Miraj-4

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