Rescue efforts resume in Buriganga launch capsize

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-06-30 12:28:10 BdST

Divers from the fire service together with Navy and Coast Guard personnel conducted a rescue operation after a launch sank on the Buriganga River following a collision with another vessel near Dhaka's Shyambazar on Monday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Rescue operations are continuing for the second day after a fatal collision between two launches on Dhaka’s Buriganga River killed 32 people on Monday.

The divers resumed their search at 9:30 am on Tuesday after taking an hour-long break following an overnight search on Monday, Kamrul Hasan, a duty officer in the Fire Service Control Room, said.

The break was observed due to the berthing of launches arriving at Sadarghat from different parts of the country, said Kamrul. 

Navy, the Coast Guard, River Police and BIWTA personnel have also joined fire service divers in the rescue efforts.

Morning Bird, with over 50 passengers on board, left Munshiganj’s Kathpotti for the capital about 7:30 am on Monday and reached near Shyambazar just after 9 am.    

Moyur-2, a larger vessel from Chandpur, which was speeding in reverse, slammed Morning Bird. In the next few seconds, Morning Bird went upside down and sank.

As of Monday afternoon, the rescuers pulled 30 bodies from inside the ill-fated vessel, while doctors declared dead two other passengers rescued by local people.

The divers of Fire Service and Civil Defence rescued a person alive after 13 hours. It is not yet clear exactly how many people are missing.

The sunken launch has been brought near the shore in the morning through BIWTA-led efforts.  A small rescue ship, Duranta, has been brought in for assistance.

According to the rescue team, 10 airlifting bags were used to pull the overturned launch lying 60-70 feet deep in the river.

Meanwhile, people who have lost their family members have again gathered on the banks of Buriganga River on Tuesday. Many have rented boats and assembled near the site of the rescue operations.

“Relatives of the missing passengers are gathering near the river and so we have arranged for a patrol in the river. We are also trying to keep away curious spectators,” said Rezaul Karim, in-charge of Sadarghat River Police.

River police filed a case over the launch capsize in the river Buriganga on Tuesday, bringing charges of “negligent death” against seven people.

The government formed a seven-strong panel, headed by a joint secretary to the shipping ministry, to look into the incident.