Cargo vessel collides with launch carrying more than 100 passengers
Rescue workers are searching for survivors as a small launch with more than100 people on board sank after colliding with a cargo vessel in the Shitalakkha River on Sunday.
The passenger vessel, ML Sabit Al Hasan, sank after colliding with the cargo ship at the mouth of the Syedpur Koyla Ghat on the Shitalakkhya River in Munshiganj. Police and onlookers said the cargo vessel fled the scene after the collision.
Port Police OC Deepak Chandra Saha confirmed that there were about 150 passengers on the launch.
The bodies of five women have so far been recovered, according to Sub Inspector Md Yunus of the River Police's local unit.
BIWTA Chairman Golam Sadek told Dhaka Tribune that the rescuers from the coast guard and fire service are conducting the rescue operation jointly. "The rescue operation will continue for the whole night, if needed," he said.
However, unfavourable weather conditions were hampering the efforts to search for survivors, said Deputy Director Abdullah Al Arefin of the Narayanganj fire service.
Prottoy, a rescue ship of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), is on the way to the location.
Eight divers along with several fire service units from Dhaka, Narayanganj and Sadarghat are searching for survivors.
The total number of casualties is yet to be determined, Bandar Madanganj police outpost Inspector Md Akbar Hossain said.
Port Madanganj police outpost police inspector Md Akbar Hossain told Dhaka Tribune there were 100-150 passengers on the launch based on eyewitness accounts.
After the launch sank, some 50 to 60 passengers were able to reach the shore with the help of locals.
“A number of passengers are still missing, but we are searching for them,” he added.