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Divers rescue man alive from sunken launch in Buriganga after 13 hours

  • Published at 11:21 pm June 29th, 2020
survivor buriganga river launch capsize
Divers rescued Suman Byapari from a capsized launch after it sank in Buriganga River on Monday, June 29, 2020 Collected

ML Morning Bird had capsized after a bigger launch, named Mayur-2, crashed into it in the morning

Divers rescued a man on Monday night as they searched for survivors from a capsized launch 13 hours after it sank in the Buriganga River, killing dozens.

The man was found inside a closed-off compartment of the capsized vessel, Fire Service and Civil Defence control room’s duty officer Lima Khanom told Dhaka Tribune around 10:30pm.

He was rushed to the Mitford Hospital for immediate medical treatment, she said. 

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said that the survivor was identified as Sumon Bepari, a resident of Abdullahpur at Munshiganj’s Tongibari. 

“It’s a miracle! Hats off to the divers,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Fire Service and Civil Defence Deputy Director Debashish Bardhan told reporters at the scene that the man’s body was soaked in oil. "He could not talk but looked and moved his hands and legs," he said.

Sumon seems to be in trauma as he has not spoken a word since he was rescued, according to his nephew Arafat Raihan Shakib.

Shakib told Dhaka Tribune: “My parents and uncles are eight brothers. Uncle Sumon is the youngest of them.”

He runs a fruit business in Badamtali of Dhaka. Shakib added: “He was going to Dhaka for his fruit business like every other day. He has been missing since the launch sank. As soon as I heard the news of the launch sinking I went to Dhaka around 11:30am to look for him. 

“I checked all the dead bodies but could not find him. So, I came back to Munshiganj in the evening. After seeing the news and learning from the media that my uncle is alive, I left for Dhaka again.” 

He added: “I went to Mitford Hospital at 11:30pm and saw my uncle.”

Shakib also said his uncle could not speak when he wanted to know how he had been in the water for so long.

However, in response to a question about how he is now, he gestured that he is fine.

Shakib said: "If I get permission from the doctor, I will take my uncle to Munshiganj today[Monday]."

A total of 32 people has died in the fatal collision between two launches on the Buriganga River, near Dhaka’s Shyambazar, around 9:15am on Monday.

The small launch, ML Morning Bird, was heading toward Sadarghat from Munshiganj when the bigger vessel, MV Mayur-2, from Chandpur crashed into it, officials said.

Morning Bird was carrying more than 50 passengers and at least 20 of them swam ashore after the incident, while the others remained trapped inside the vessel.

Divers from the Fire Service subsequently arrived on the scene and began the rescue operation together with navy and coast guard personnel.

The rescuers throughout the day recovered 32 bodies from the river.

However, divers were continuing the search for survivors and attempts to salvage the vessel until the filing of this report at 11:30pm.

Additional reporting by our Munshiganj Correspondent Tanjil Hasan