The deceased are – Momena Begum, 55, and Kazla Begum of Poirtala in Brahmanbaria pourashava, Tasfia Mim, 12, daughter of Mobarak Mia from Datiara area, Tanvir, 8, son of Murad Hossain from Sadekpur village in and Takua, 8. Daughter of Abdullah from Chilokut village in Brahmanbaria sadar upazila, Sharmin, 18, daughter of Jharua Mia from Bhatpara, Sajim, 7, son of Jamal Mia from Narsingsar village, Arif Billah, son of Zahirul Haque from Fatehpur, Bijoynagar, Manju Begum, 60, from Beragaon, Farida Begum, 47, and her daughter Munni, 10, Kamala Begum, 52, Minara Begum, 50, from Nurpur, Anjani Biswas, 30, from Adampur, Tithiba Biswas, 2, daughter of Parimal Biswas, Mahida Akhter, 6, daughter of Kamal Mia from Badeharia, Sirajul Islam, 58, frm Manipur and Jharna Begum, 45, from Mymensingh. Three others could not be identified.
The district administration has formed a three-member committee to investigate the accident.
Local people, witnesses, fire service and police said the boat left Champaknagar Ghat with 150-200 passengers around 4:30pm to Brahmanbaria sadar upazila. Around 6:00pm, it collided head on with a sand-laden boat at Laiska canal of Pattan union. The boat capsized as another sand-laden trawler rammed it from behind that time.
The sand-laden boat that hit the passenger boat from the opposite direction fled the scene immediately. Local people began the rescue work. Police and fire service personnel later joined in the rescue operations.
The recovered bodies were sent to 250-bed general hospital in Brahmanbaria. From there the bodies were handed over to the relatives of the victims.
Some passengers of the capsized boat said that was the day’s last commuter boat between Champaknagar and Brahmanbaria. The boat was smaller in size but the boatman took additional passengers. They alleged that the boat capsized as it was overloaded and got hit by the sand-laden boat.
Local resident Shamim Mia said they seized the sand-laden boat and held the boatman.
Alamgir Hossain, resident of Bhatpara village in Sadar upazila, said, “I married off my sister Sharmin Akhter with Jahirul Islam of Mukundpur in Bijoynagar just 3-4 days ago. She was coming by that boat to our home. Now my sister is missing.”
Speaking to Prothom Alo, former chairman of Pattan union Tajul Islam alleged the boat was overloaded with passengers.
Brahmanbaria fire service deputy director Toufiqul Islam Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo that there was not any team of divers in the district. A team of divers from adjacent Kishoreganj district have been conducting the rescue and recovery operations.
Police super Anisur Rahman said the sand-laden boat that head from the opposite direction has been seized.
Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner Hayat-ud-Daula told journalists around 12:00am that the families of the victims would be given Tk 20,000 each.
He also said additional district magistrate Md Ruhul Amin will lead the three-member probe committee that has been asked to submit its report within 10 days.
News agency AFP adds: The maritime accident was the latest in a string of similar incidents in the south Asian country.
In April and May, 54 were killed in two separate boat capsizing accidents.
Experts blame poor maintenance, lax safety standards at shipyards and overcrowding for many of the accidents.
Vessels transporting sand sit low in the water and can be hard to see in choppy conditions, particularly in poor lighting.
In June last year, a ferry sank in Dhaka after it was hit from behind by another ferry, killing at least 32 people.
In February 2015, at least 78 people died when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo boat.