8 Bangladeshis die from oxygen-deficiency off Tunisia coast

An inflatable boat carrying migrants
Reuters file photo

The bodies of eight Bangladeshi nationals who died in a boat capsize off the coast of Tunisia while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe arrived in the country.

A flight carrying the bodies landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Thursday noon.

The deceased are identified as Mamun Sheikh, Sajal Boiragi, Noyon Biswas, Rifat Sheikh, Sajib Kazi, Imrul Kayes, Md Kaiser, and Russel Sheikh. Five of them are from Madaripur and three from Gopalganj districts.

Relatives of the deceased persons waiting to receive the bodies allege that middlemen carried 52 passengers in a small dinghy retentive of 30 passengers. The eight men were forced to stay under the floor of the boat.

Suffering from oxygen-deficiency, they tried to come up from below but the middlemen beat them and preventing them from emerging. They died from beating and oxygen deficiency, alleged the relatives.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s (DMP) Uttara divisional additional deputy commissioner Touhidul Islam said a case has been filed with airport police station over the incident. The bodies would be handed over to the family members following proper legal process.

Victim Md Kaiser’s brother in law Shaon Fakir told Prothom Alo that the middlemen took Tk 800,000 for taking Kaiser to Italy from Libya. They were supposed to be taken on a big boat.

"But Kaiser and seven others were kept under the deck as the more people boarded on the boat,” said Shaon Fakir.

He said Kaiser has two minor girls.