A witness blames Barishal bus crash on reckless driving

The shabby condition of the bus and reckless driving resulted in the crash that claimed 10 lives on the Barishal-Dhaka highway, according to a passenger.

At least 20 others were injured in the deadly accident when the coach bound for Pirojpur’s Bhandaria veered off the highway and slammed into a tree in Barishal’s Uzirpur Upazila early Sunday.

Nine people, including a minor, died on the spot, said ASI Maruf, the officer-in-charge of the Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital Police Camp. Another victim died at the hospital, taking the toll to 10, he said.

The authorities were able to confirm the identities of the seven of the deceased.

They are Md Arafat Hossain, 9, Md Nazrul Islam, 35, Mosammat Anwara Begum, 23, Md Halim Mia, 31, Md Sentu Molla, 50, Md Ramzan Howlader, 35, and Madhab Sheel, 45.

Members of Barishal highway police and two units of the fire service rescued the injured from the bus.

One of the injured, Mohammad Anis, told bdnews24.com that the bus, operated by Jamuna Line Paribahan, had a mechanical failure in Dhaka’s Savar, and the passengers had to wait for two hours there before it was fixed.

“The driver of the bus was rushing to make up for lost time. After Savar, he started overtaking one vehicle after another on the highway recklessly. At one point, when we were crossing Bamrail [an area in Uzirpur], he lost control of the steering."

Anis is among the 20 who were injured in the crash and was receiving medical treatment at Barishal’s Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital.

In a preliminary assessment, police found Anis’s claim to be true, confirmed Barishal Highway Police Station chief Sheikh Bellal Hossain.

“We [police and firefighters] spotted damage on left side of the front wheel. That may have caused the driver to lose control of the bus. I can’t confirm anything at the moment, we can only reveal details after a thorough investigation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Jashim Uddin Haider has confirmed that the administration will bear the medical expenses of the injured, and the families of the deceased will receive Tk 20,000 each.

The district administration has also formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident and asked the panel to submit its findings within the next seven days.