At least 27 dead as launch capsizes after collision

At least 27 dead as launch capsizes after collision

Dhaka: At least 27 people died after a small launch carrying over 100 passengers 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.

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 rescue team comprised officials from Navy, Coast Guard, fire service and police.

The salvage operation is ended, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadek told newsmen here, while live TV footages showed wailing family members and relatives of the victims crowding at the scene.

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. The launch was en route Munshiganj.

Quoting police and onlookers, the Dhaka Tribune reported that the cargo vessel fled the scene after the collision.

A seven-member committee headed by Additional District Magistrate (ADM) has been formed to investigate the incident, Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Mostain Billah said.

The district administration will give a compensation of Tk25,000 (USD 296) to each of the deceased's family for the burial process, he added.

The probe panel has been asked to submit its findings in next five days.

BIWTA has also formed a four-member panel to probe the mishap. The launch had an estimated 150 passengers. Port Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Deepak Chandra Saha confirmed that 50-60 of them were able to swim in the two banks, but three of them had to be rushed to the hospital.

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