Bangladesh: Ferry collides with cargo vessel, capsizes; 27 dead
At least 27 people died after a small launch (motorboat) capsized after colliding with a cargo vessel in Bangladesh's Shitalakkhya River, officials said on Monday. The incident took place on Sunday evening at Narayanganj District, about 16 km southeast of Dhaka. The report said that the launch was en-route to Munshiganj. Here are more details.
Five bodies were recovered on Sunday, 22 on Monday
While five bodies were recovered on Sunday, rescuers retrieved 22 bodies on Monday as a salvage vessel pulled out the launch with the help of a huge crane around midday, rescue officials said. The passenger vessel, ML Sabit Al Hasan, sank after colliding with the cargo ship, SKL-3, at the mouth of the Syedpur Koyla Ghat on the Shitalakkhya River in Munshiganj.
Salvage operation has ended
The salvage operation has ended, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadek told newsmen in Dhaka, while live TV footage showed wailing family members and relatives of the victims crowding at the scene.
Launch was carrying workers returning home due to lockdown
DW had reported that the accident took place at around 6:00 pm local time, soon after the boat left the Narayanganj City for a 45-minute journey to neighboring Munshiganj District. According to AFP, the launch was packed with workers returning home to Munshiganj after the government imposed a seven-day nationwide lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Seven-member committee formed to investigate the incident
"Police and onlookers said the cargo vessel fled the scene after the collision," the report said. "A seven-member committee headed by Additional District Magistrate (ADM) has been formed to investigate the incident," Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah said.
Some passengers were able to swim ashore, few hospitalized
While some reports say the ferry was carrying around 50 people, others put the figure at 100. Port Police Officer-in-Charge Deepak Chandra Saha confirmed that some of them swam to safety, but few of them had to be hospitalized. Rescue operations were hampered last night due to a storm. The rescue team comprised officials from the Navy, Coast Guard, fire service, and police.
Compensation will be given for burial to the families
"The district administration will give a compensation of Tk 25,000 (US$ 296) to each of the deceased's family for the burial process," Billah said. "The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has also formed a four-member committee to probe the mishap," the Dhaka Tribune report said.
Boat accidents are not uncommon in Bangladesh
In June last year, a ferry capsized after getting hit by a vessel and sank killing at least 30 people, Aljazeera had reported. The ferry was traveling from Munshiganj District and sank near Sadarghat, Dhaka's main river port Reportedly, in February 2015, at least 78 people died when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo boat in a river in Central Bangladesh.