Rescue efforts end in Buriganga launch capsize, 34 bodies recovered

  •  Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-06-30 18:40:02 BdST


The authorities have called off rescue operations a day after a passenger ferry sank following a collision with another launch on Dhaka’s Buriganga River that left a total of 34 people dead.

AKM Arif Uddin, a joint director at Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority or BIWTA, confirmed the development to on Tuesday afternoon.

“Morning Bird, a small vessel that capsized on Monday, has been brought to Cumilla dockyard at Sadarghat launch terminal. No dead body was found inside the launch. We announced an end to the rescue efforts around 2:30pm,” Arif Uddin said.

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

But, the body of a man was seen floating on the river hours after the authorities wrapped up rescue efforts on Tuesday. The authorities have not identified the man. 

A fire service team will be kept on stand by there to watch out if any more body surfaces at the scene, said Ershad Hossain, an official at the fire service's control room.

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

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 body of 18-year-old Ashique Hossain was found inside the launch on Tuesday afternoon. His father Ismail Hossain identified the body at the hospital morgue.

A total of 33 bodies have so far been recovered in the search. The mortal remains of 32 victims, recovered on Monday, have been identified and handed over to their families.

The river police started a case over the launch capsize on Tuesday, bringing charges of “negligent death” against seven people.

 The government has launched an investigation into the disaster by instituting a seven-strong panel, headed by a joint secretary to the shipping ministry.