Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– At least 12 people were killed and many remain missing after a launch capsized on Friday morning in the Meghna river at Gazaria upazila of Munshiganj district in Bangladesh.
The 17.08-metre ML Sarash was heading for Machuakhali in Matlab of Chandpur from Narayanganj but it was hit in the stern by an unregistered cargo vessel around 7:45am near Ismanir Char causing it to sink.
Survivor Shafiqul Islam said, “I was walking on the roof of the launch and suddenly, I saw the speedy cargo vessel hit it. The launch could not maintain balance and sank within one or two minutes.”
Rescuers recovered the bodies of Mayna, 30, and Prince, 2, of Matlab before night fall. But Abdus Shaheed, station officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters, told The Daily Star, a local newspaper, early Saturday that they had recovered the bodies of three men, two women, and five children.
The 10 bodies were recovered from the launch between 1:30am and 2:30am.
Witnesses said some passengers managed to swim ashore while some were picked up by nearby trawlers when the vessel sank.
The rescue operation started around 10:00am even though rescue vessel MV Rustom reached the spot later, around 11:30am.
Around 100 divers were taking part in the rescue operation. They had located the vessel under water around 2:00pm and were able to pull the vessel closer to the shore early today.
Hundreds of people thronged the spot and were looking for their near and dear ones using boats and trawlers all day long on Friday.
BBN/SSR/AD-09Feb13-9:56 am (BST)