'I didn’t jump into the water to be praised' 

Md Mamun

Sailing from Kumira in Chattogram’s Sitakunda, a cruise ship docked at the coast of Sandwip on the afternoon of 15 June. Passengers then started alighting and heading for the beach in red life boats.

One of the passengers on board a lifeboat fell into water at the Sandwip channel in the extreme tide. Seeing the person drowning, Md Mamun who was piloting the lifeboat, jumped into the choppy waters to save him. People praised him for this brave deed. He shared the experience with Prothom Alo recently.

Q :

How are you doing?

Physically, I’m a bit unwell. I feel feverish. I got drenched in the rain last Wednesday, while helping passengers to get down. Since then I have been sneezing and coughing along with high body temperature. So, I was resting at home.  

Q :

You have saved a passenger from drowning at Sandwip channel. Everyone’s praising you. What’s your reaction to that?

I have been ferrying passengers on this route for a long time. I have an idea of the waves on this river. I did not jump into the water to be praised. It’s my duty to save those boarding my boat.

But once news of the incident got circulated, many people came to see me at the dockyard. They praised me and wanted to take photos with me.

People are feeling safe to board my boat and that’s the greatest achievement for me. I have no use for millions of taka, rather I’m content with that much.

Q :

Weren’t you scared, when you dived into those tumultuous waves?

If I get scared myself, how will I save the passengers then? I have swam across wilder waves at the Sandwip channel before.

Q :

What were you thinking while jumping into the water?

I had nothing except the thought of saving that person inside my head then. For if I had waited one or two more minutes, the man would have drowned already. And, then I would have felt guilty to myself. I just felt that I must save the man.

Q :

Did anyone reward you for this deed?

The effort to rescue that man wasn’t for any reward actually. The urge came from my conscience. However, a man came from a social organisation with a reward of Tk 5000.

Meanwhile, another man came from Chattogram with a carton-full of commodities and Tk 2,000. But, I find it wonderful that many passengers now look for me while getting off the vessels.

Q :

How long have you been ferrying passengers here and how many such incidents have you seen before?

I have ferried passengers for 22 years at Guptachora Ghat (dockyard) alone. I have seen many minor and major accidents in between. Just last year, a man with a seven or eight-year-old child was trying to get down on my boat from a trawler. The waves steered the boat a bit farther from the trawler at that time causing the man and a child to drop in the water.

I had total three mobile phones in my pocket at that moment. Without thinking of the phones I jumped in water and pushed the child onto the boat first. Then I helped the man to get on the boat. That man too offered me some money then. But I refused that.

Q :

How many members are there in your family?

I have my mother, wife, two daughters and a son at home.

Q :

What was your family members’ reaction on that incident?

I didn’t say anything about the incident at home on the first day. But, when it was revealed the next day my mother said to me, “You have two, a son and me at home. Didn’t you think of us even for once! If something were to happen to you, who would have looked after us?”

But I told them, that’s my job. I cannot let someone from my boat to drown. They also know I wouldn’t listen to such opinions coming from them. Still I have asked them to pray for me that nobody should die because of me.

Q :

Thank you for your time.

Thank you.