Narayanganj launch capsize: Death toll rises to 12

Cargo ship Rupshi-9 hits ML Ashrafuddin in Mahmudnagar area of Narayanganj on 20 march 2022.Prothom Alo

The death toll from Sunday's launch accident in the Shitalakkhya River off Narayanganj coast rose to 12, with the recovery of four more bodies on Tuesday, reports UNB.

A rescue team of the local fire service fished out the body of Abdullah Al Jaber, 30, at around 8.00am and that of a three-year-old child named Arohi at around 10.30 am from the river, said deputy assistant director (media cell) of Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters, Mohamamd Shahjahan Shikdar.

Later at 10.00am, the Coast Guard members recovered the body of another person from Gazaria in Munshiganj. However, the deceased’s identity is yet to be confirmed.

The dead body of Hatem Ali, 60, was recovered on Tuesday night, sources relevant to fire service said.

"Two more passengers of the launch -- Moslem Uddin Hatem (55) from Munshiganj and Jobayer Hossain -- are still missing, and rescue operations are on to find them," said Narayanganj fire service’s deputy assistant director, Abdullah Al Arefin.

On Sunday, Munshiganj-bound launch ML Asraf Uddin, carrying 50-60 passengers, capsized in the river as cargo vessel MV Rupshi-9 hit it around 2.30pm, according to the fire service and civil defence headquarters. Some 15-20 people managed to swim ashore.

That very day, six bodies were retrieved from the river by the local rescuers. The deceased were identified as Joynal Bhuiyan, 50, Arifa Begum, 35, her 15-month-old son Shafayet Hossain, Fatema, 7, Smrity Rani Barman, 19, and Salma, 33.

The death toll reached eight on Monday when two more bodies were fished out. One of them was a 40-year-old unidentified man while another was Umme Khairun Fatema, 30, headmistress of Harial Government Primary School in Sonargaon.

Earlier that day, rescue vessel ‘Pratyay’ of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) retrieved the sunken launch ‘MV Afsar Uddin’ from the river. However, no body was found inside the launch, according to fire service officials.

Meanwhile, BIWTA announced an indefinite suspension of launch movement on Narayanganj-Chandpur and Munshiganj routes from Monday.

BIWTA also filed two separate cases against eight staffers of the cargo vessel that had hit the launch.

The naval police seized MV Ruposhi-9, the cargo ship owned by the City Group, after it docked at Munshiganj port shortly after the accident and detained its staffers