One killed, five injured in Meghna launch collision
At least one passenger was killed and five others were injured in a collision between two Dhaka-bound launches in Meghna river early yesterday.
The collision took place at Kaliganj point in Mehendiganj upazila around 12:45am when “Adventure-9” got stuck in a shoal and another launch, “MV Sundarban-6”, collided head-on, according to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Association (BIWTA).
BIWTA said the incident occurred due to foggy weather and poor visibility.
The deceased, Sakib Palowan, 20, of Sreepur union in the upazila, was a passenger of Adventure-9. He was standing on deck at the time of collision. The injured, from both the vessels, are being treated at Barishal hospitals.
The triple-deck Adventure-9 was carrying more than 700 passengers, while double-deck Sundarban-6 over 500.
Robin Gazi, a passenger of Adventure-9, said, “After getting stuck, we were waiting for tide. Suddenly another vessel hit us.”
Saidur Rahman Rintu, owner of Sundarban-6, said the other launch was not giving any signal. As a result, Sundarban-6 could not see it.
Both launches reached Dhaka eventually. “We have formed a probe committee to investigate the incident,” said Ajmol Huda Mithu, deputy director of BIWTA, Barishal.
In winter, many rivers face navigability issues, and water transports get stuck in shallow water, at times resulting in accidents.
The situation on the Meghna river is worse at a number of points where larger vessels are sometimes getting stuck for hours. Those include Miarchar under Hijla upazila, Bheduria under Bhola, and Bhashanchar, Sreepur and Patarhat under Mehendiganj in Barishal.
According to experts, the waterways in the region need to have a minimum depth of 10 feet for safe navigability and considering the poor navigability issue, the authorities concerned must complete necessary dredging of the waterways.
When asked, Ajmol Huda Mithu said BIWTA will start dredging at around 20 points soon.