Probe identifies 7 reasons behind Nikli disaster | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 17, 2008

Probe identifies 7 reasons behind Nikli disaster

One of the two probe bodies formed to investigate last week's launch capsize in Ghorautra river in Nikli upazila submitted its report yesterday, identifying seven reasons behind the disaster that claimed at least 46 people.
Nikli Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Kazi Saiful Islam, who is a member of the probe body, submitted the report to Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sultan Ahamed, saying the structure of the ill-fated launch was tampered and the master had no training.
Meanwhile, death toll in the launch capsize rose to 46 as locals recovered another body yesterday.
The deceased was identified as Salatur Rahman Ripon of Boregaon village of Tarail upazila in the district.
The engine and the steel-made body of the sunken vessel were too old to cope with any disaster and the launch was carrying over 100 passengers although its capacity was 50 passengers, according to the probe report.
When the launch was sinking all its window shutters were pulled down, which led to more casualties, the report said, adding that the passengers were trapped under water also because of the huge goods kept on the deck.
The probe body also opined that because of the outdated nature of BIWTA rescue operation the sunken launch could not be salvaged even after daylong effort.
The committee also made some recommendations to avoid such accidents.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) should ensure that a vessel is operated by expert and trained masters and crew. Fitness certificate, registration and route permit of a vessel should be given after proper inspection of the vessel, the report said.
The district administration gave the families of each of 33 victims Tk 4,000 from the DC's relief fund.
UNO Saiful Islam said the owner of the sunken launch, Shafi Uddin, bought an old engine boat at a BIWTA auction in 1986 and built a wooden body engine boat. In 2006, he built the steel-body launch, violating the existing rules of BIWTA.
The UNO said, "It is a wonder how the vessel got its fitness certificate and other papers from BIWTA."
He said a case was filed with Nikli Police Station yesterday against master Humayun of the sunken boat for driving the launch without having training. Master Humayun has been absconding since the capsize.
Locals and relatives of missing persons, meanwhile, resented the sudden decision to call off the rescue operation.

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