‘I won’t return home without my boys’
A heart-breaking scene unfolded on the Padma riverbank as a father cried out for the safe return of his two sons, who went missing after Saturday night's trawler capsizing incident in Munshiganj.
"I won't return home without my boys!" exclaimed Arif with a heavy chest.
He said ever since the accident took place, he had been waiting by the riverbank for the rescue of his sons .
Arif is from Sirajdikhan upazila's Koirakhola village. His two sons, Nava, 5, and Turan, 7, have remained missing since the picnic trawler sank in a tributary of Padma river near Raskathi village under Louhajang upazila.
At least seven bodies, including those of four children, have so far been recovered till the filing of this report last night.
Besides, Nava and Turan, another child -- Mahim Sheikh, 4, remained missing. He is the son of Rubel Sheikh, a resident of Sirajdikhan upazila's Khidirpur village.
Of the deceased, six are members of the same family.
They are Happy Akhtar, 28, her sons Sakibul, 8, and Sajibul, 4, sister Popy Akhtar, 26, and their relatives Farihan, 10, and five-month-old Humaira. The other deceased is Mokseda, 40. They are all from Khidirpur village.
Happy's husband Jahangir, 40, miraculously survived the tragic accident but was found to be completely inconsolable after losing so many family members.
On a visit to Khidirpur last morning, this correspondent noticed that a sense of sorrow had descended upon the village.
"Where have my sons gone? How will I go on with my days without them? I have lost everything. I cannot live anymore," cried Jahangir.
"We've become speechless after the shocking accident. This is the worst thing to have ever happened to us," said Jahangir's brother Uzzal.
Happy's cousin Arshad Akash, who is a police inspector, demanded that the government strictly monitor the operation of water vessels, as he said the picnic trawler capsized after being hit by the cargo vessel.
The accident took place at around 8:30pm, prompting locals to start a rescue operation immediately.
Later, members of the fire service rushed to the spot and conducted rescue operations until 2:00am yesterday.
The rescue operations were halted for five hours due to inclement weather.
At around 7:00am, the rescue operation resumed, with the Navy and Coast Guard joining.
So far, 34 people have been rescued, said Aslam Khan, district superintendent of police.
A case was filed with Louhajang Police Station yesterday, accusing four named and some unnamed crew members of the cargo vessel that hit the picnic trawler.
The police seized the cargo vessel, but its crew members fled the scene.
"We are trying to arrest the accused persons," said Khandaker Imam Hossain, officer-in-charge (OC) of the police station.
Police have detained the cargo vessel's cook for interrogation.
Meanwhile, the district administration has formed a five-member probe body headed by Additional District Magistrate Sharmin Ara to investigate the accident, said Abu Zafar Ripon, deputy commissioner of Munshiganj.