It was supposed to be a happy family reunion.
Abdur Rahim, 65, and his wife Kulsum Begum, 55, were on their way to Chattogram city from their village in Cumilla. They were about to meet their son Abdul Momin Swapan, who had landed at the port city from Dubai the previous night.
All of a sudden, their microbus rear-ended a lorry at a speed bump and got stuck to the lorry's bumper. The lorry dragged the vehicle about 100 metres and by that time the microbus caught fire, said one of the survivors.
The couple and the microbus driver, Mohammad Rubel, of Noakhali's Chatkhil, were killed on the spot.
The accident on Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Chattogram's Mirsarai upazila around 7:30am also left the couple's grandchildren -- Roni, 12, and Russel, 10 -- critically injured. They were being treated at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Swapan's brother Abul Kalam, who narrowly survived by jumping off the microbus, said his brother works as a labourer in Dubai and returned on Monday after one and a half years. He was staying with one of his relatives in Bahaddarhat area.
“We started from our home in Kamalpur area of Monoharganj around 5:00am. The driver looked drowsy all the way,” Abdul said.
“After our microbus's bumper got stuck with the lorry, we had no scope for getting out as all the doors were locked,” he said, adding, the fire broke out after the lorry sped up and removed the microbus.
Quoting witnesses, Sub-Inspector Sohel Sarkar, in-charge of Jorarganj Highway Police Outpost, said the accident happened after the microbus rear-ended the lorry.
Police said the lorry driver had apparently not noticed the microbus immediately.
On information, firefighters rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire, said Jashim Uddin, assistant director of the department.
However, the bodies of the dead were found completely burnt inside the microbus, he said.
“The fire might have originated from a spark triggered by the dragging and gas leakage from the microbus's cylinder,” he added.
The SI said the lorry driver fled leaving the vehicle in front of Nijampur College in Mirsarai.
Both the vehicles were seized.
Our Cumilla correspondent adds: Swapan, third among seven sons of dead Abdur Rahman, said five of the brothers live in the UAE.
There were two other relatives in the microbus. They were also being treated at the DMCH, he added.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, at a briefing at his office in the capital, admitted that discipline has not been ensured on roads.
“Actually, discipline has not been ensured on roads. I have admitted this,” he said during the briefing on several issues.
FIVE KILLED IN CAPITAL
Five people were killed in three road accidents in the city's Postogola, Jatrabari, and Khilgaon areas yesterday.
Three people died and two others were injured as a bus and a CNG-run auto-rickshaw collided head-on near Postogola Bridge around 6:00pm, said Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Shyampur Police Station.
All the dead were passengers of the auto-rickshaw.
The dead were Bachchu Mia, 60, his son Zubayed, 26 and Syed Ahmed, 28.
Talking to reporters at the DMCH, Zubayed's brother Masum Miah said his brother had been having severe back pain for the last couple of days. His father was taking him to a hospital when the accident happened.
The injured were taken to DMCH while the bodies were kept at the morgue there.
Police seized the bus, however, its driver fled.
In Jatrabari, Rubel Choukider, a trader, was killed as a bus rammed a rickshaw carrying him yesterday afternoon. The bus was seized but that driver also managed to escape, police said.
Besides, a 60-year-old man, Abdur Razzak, was killed being hit by a motorcycle in front of Khilgaon community centre yesterday evening. It happened when he was crossing a road.