At least 25 people, including a newborn baby, went missing after three anchored launches capsized in the Padma River in Nariya upazila, Shariatpur early Monday morning.
The launches – MV Mouchak, MV Mahanagar and Nariya 2 – capsized at Nariya Wabda launch terminal around 5:30am, police said.
Of the missing people, 15 including the baby, its mother and grandmother have been identified, police added.
The fourth launch that was anchored at the terminal, MV Shureshwar 2, was drifted away by the strong current of the river.
One of the capsized launches, MV Mouchak, was spotted in Kachi Kata union in Vedorganj upazila – 8km away from where it capsized. However, the launch could not be rescued due to bad weather conditions, said Zahidul Islam Chowdhury, deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Shariatpur Additional Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ehsan said four launches were anchored at Nariya Wabda launch terminal when a section of the terminal broke off and fell into the river.
“Twenty-five people went missing when three of the launches capsized in the river. We have started the rescue mission,” he added.
The baby's father, Mohammad Ali, fell unconscious after hearing that his four-day-old child, his wife Parvin Akhtar and his mother-in-law Fakhrunnesa had gone missing. He was admitted to Shariatpur Sadar Hospital.
Local people rescued six launch crew members from the river with a trawler and rushed them to Naria Upazila Health Complex.
A diver unit of Bangladesh Navy, three units of Fire Service, BIWTA rescue ship Prottoy and a unit of Bangladesh Army were still conducting a body search in the area when this report was filed at 8pm on Monday.