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Shitalakkhya launch capsize: River Police yet to make arrests despite video evidence

  • Published at 04:53 pm April 5th, 2021
Shitalakkhya launch capsize
File photo: Rescue team pulling out the capsized launch which sank after colliding with a cargo vessel in the Shitalakkhya River on Sunday, April, 4, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

According to sources, the cargo vessel that caused the tragic accident belongs to influential people

Despite possessing video evidence of Sunday’s Shitalakkhya launch capsize, River Police are yet to identify the cargo vessel responsible for the tragic accident and make any arrests.

Initially, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) had identified the vessel as SKL-3. But surprisingly on Monday it claimed that it was yet to confirm the matter.  

Even a BIWTA press release, issued right after the incident, named the vessel that caused the accident as SKL-3. 

“We didn’t confirm the name of the accused vessel from the accident videos. 

“River Police are still working on it,” said BIWTA Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq 

“Officials concerned talked to the witnesses of the incident but no one could confirm the name,” the BIWTA chief added while speaking to Dhaka Tribune.

Meanwhile, sources inside the Department of Shipping said there was no vessel registered with the name “SKL -3.”

Such unprecedented confusion has raised a number of questions among the general people as the whereabouts of the large cargo vessel and identification of its ownership still remain a mystery.

Also Read - ‘Find me the body of my sister’

According to sources, the cargo vessel that hit the launch ML Sabit Al Hasan belongs to influential people.

However, River Police SP Mina Mahmud – for Narayanganj and Munshiganj – said: “We have been searching for the vessel in question relentlessly. But are yet to find anything.

“However, we are confident that the vessel in question and those who were on it during the accident will be identified soon. If necessary we will take help from other law enforcement agencies.” 

At around 7pm on Sunday, ML Sabit Al Hasan sank in the Shitalakkhya River at Munshiganj after colliding with the cargo ship at the mouth of the Syedpur Koyla Ghat. 

Police and onlookers said the cargo vessel had sped away from the scene after the collision. 

The launch had an estimated 150 passengers. Port Police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Deepak Chandra Saha confirmed that 50-60 of them were able to swim to the two banks, but three of them had to be rushed to hospital.

According to officials, the owner of the sunken launch is Alal Hossain. The launch had left Narayanganj Central Launch Terminal for Munshiganj at around 6pm on Sunday.

Two probe bodies – one by the Narayanganj district administration and the other by BIWTA – have been formed to investigate the accident that led to the deaths of 30 people till last reports came in.

Meanwhile, relatives of the passengers who went missing in the launch capsize have been gathering on the banks of the Shitalakkhya in a desperate search for their relatives.

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