Manikganj, Bangladesh (BBN)-The death toll in Bangladesh’s launch capsize climbed to 69 as 28 more bodies were recovered from the sunken vessel on Monday.
Meanwhile, salvage ship Rushtom towed out the ill-fated ferry, MV Mostafa, around 5:00am, nearly 17 hours after the tragedy.
The double-decker ferry sank in the middle of river Padma Sunday noon after being hit by a cargo vessel in Manikganj, a central district of Bangladesh.
MV Mostafa could not survive the collision and capsized, witnesses said.
The deceased include 15 children and 20 women, local police said.
Nargis-1, the goods-laden vessel, hit the ferry carry nearly 200 people on Paturia-Daulatdia route in Manikganj, about 40km north-west of the capital Dhaka.
Though the launch had a capacity of 140 passengers, it was carrying more than 200, claimed a number of survivors.
They blamed the master of the ferry for the capsize as he tried to overtake the cargo trawler which hit it, causing the overturn.
Around 80 to 90 passengers were either rescued or they swam about half a kilometre to reach the shore, said witnesses and locals.
So far 66 bodies were handed over to their relatives, local administration said.
Hours after the incident, Bangladesh government formed a five-member committee to probe the incident.
Meanwhile, law enforcers managed to seize the cargo trawler and detained its master and his assistant in connection with the accident.
In the backdrop of the situation, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan visited the spot Sunday evening.
The launch, MV Mostafa, was heading towards Daulatdia from Paturia.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation, divers from Fire Service and Civil Defence and locals conducted the salvage operation.
Accidents are common on Bangladesh’s river network, with overcrowding and poor boat quality often to blame.