At least 32 people drowned and many went missing after a ferry carrying over 100 passengers capsized in Buriganga river in Bangladesh on Monday, PTI reported. The boat, called “Morning Bird” capsized after it was hit by a bigger vessel, “Moyur-2”, near the Sadarghat Launch Terminal. “Morning Bird” had been travelling from Munshiganj district to Dhaka.
Fire Service Headquarters Control Room chief Enayetur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that the accident took place around 9.30 am (9 am Indian Standard Time). “It appeared to be an accident caused by negligence of the drivers,” an unidentified official of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, or BIWTA, said. But Bangladesh’s Ministry of Shipping and BIWTA have launched independent investigations into the cause of the incident.
The bodies of 30 people – 19 men, eight women and three children – were recovered from the river. Two more people died at Mitford Hospital in Dhaka, Sadarghat Police Officer-in-Charge Rejaul Karim Bhuiyan said. All bodies were handed over to the family members of the deceased.
BIWTA Joint Director AKM Arif Uddin said that the ferry has been hauled up from the river and tied with a rope. A rescue vessel is on its way to the site.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered condolences to the families of the deceased. A statement from her office said she was closely monitoring the rescue operations.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury claimed that the accident appeared to have been pre-planned. “The investigation is going on,” he told reporters. “People responsible for the incident will face action. We have seen from CCTV footage that it was a kind of murder. It seems pre-planned.”