Bangladesh junior shipping minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury has alleged that the launch capsize in the River Buriganga , leading to 34 deaths so far, was ” no accident but a deliberate case of murder.”
The Hasina government has formed a 7-member probe body to look into the launch capsize incident with a caveat that they have to report their findings within 7 days.
The Shipping Ministry has formed the probe team with Shipping joint secretary (development) Md Rafiqul Islam Khan as its convener.
The double-deck ‘Morning Bird’ launch with over 50 passengers coming from Munshiganj sank in the river after being hit by Chandpur-bound vessel ‘Mayur-2’ .
That vessel was anchored the Kathpatti ghat near Shyambazar in the capital’s old town at 9:33am on Monday morning during the collision.
The sunken launch was pulled out by rescue workers manually 26 hours after the accident.
“After watching the CCTV footage, it seems that it’s not an accident, it’s a case of deliberate murder ,” Chowdhury said.
Talking to reporters during the rescue operation at Sadarghat, the state Minister also said his government was going to order an investigation into the accident to identify possible negligence on the part of the launch owners.
Witnesses said there were over 50 passengers in the launch. Although several passengers managed to swim ashore, many went missing.
Personnel of Fire Service, River Police, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard joined the rescue operation after the accident and recovered 34 bodies on Monday.
Besides, a man was rescued alive on Monday night 13 hours after the launch capsize.
The government has already announced that each family of the deceased will get BDT 1.5 lakh from the river disaster fund of BIWTA, he said.
The divers of Fire Service and Civil Defence of Bangladesh have rescued a person alive 13 hours after the launch capsized on the Buriganga river in Dhaka.The survivor is Sumon Bepari, 35, from Munshiganj’s Tongibari.
The rescuers found him inside the sunken launch while trying to pull it up around 10:15pm on Monday and has been admitted to Mitford Hospital beside the river.
The survivor Sumon said he was able to breathe under the water and had decided to wait until the rescuers reached him .
He might have been able to breathe because air pockets are created sometimes when a vessel turns upside down, fire service officials said.
The former driver of Mayur-2 launch said the owner had sacked the driver long time back and now there was no driver of the launch for a long time. It was being driven by the master, who is unskilled and very low paid.
Kamrul Hasan, a duty officer in the Fire Service Control Room, said that the divers resumed their search at 9:30 am on Tuesday after taking an hour-long break following an overnight search on Monday.
Bangladesh Navy, the Coast Guard of B’dersh, Naval Police and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) personnel have also joined fire service divers in the rescue efforts.
Naval police have filed a case over the launch capsize in the river Buriganga, bringing charges against six people, including the owner of the launch Mayuri-2.
Dhaka Region Superintendent of Naval Police Khandaker Faridul Islam told Easternlink that efforts were being made to arrest the owner Mufazzal Hamid and driver of the Mayur-2 launch Shipon Hawlader and other accused.
The names of 6 people have been mentioned in the case. They are Mufazzal Hamid, owner of the launch Mayuri-2, master Abul Bashar, master Zakir Hossain, master shakil, master Sukani Nasir and driver Shipon Hawlader.
Meanwhile, movement of heavy vehicles on Postagala China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge remained restricted since Monday evening as it was damaged after being hit by a salvage vessel in the morning.
A guarder of the bridge was displaced that caused the problem.
Moyur-2 launch was seized and no passengers remained missing in the incident, said AKM Arif Uddin.