Two days have passed since three launches capsized in the Padma River in Nariya upazila of Shariatpur, none of the missing people has not been rescued yet, sparking vehement anger among the victims’ families and relatives.
At least 30 people, including a newborn baby, went missing as the launches – MV Mouchak, MV Mahanagar and Nariya 2 – capsized on Monday at 5:30am due to sudden erosion at MV Shureshwar 2 Terminal in the upazila. The fourth launch that was anchored at the same terminal was drifted away by strong currents in the river.
The search operation is not making any headway, locals alleged. Visiting the spot on Tuesday, the Dhaka Tribune correspondent found that the relatives were wailing on the riverbank while inquisitive locals thronging the spot.
MV Mouchak was spotted by a diver team of Bangladesh Navy at Kachi Kata union in Vedorganj upazila – 8km away from where it capsized. Despite frantic efforts, the launch could not be pulled up due to bad weather conditions, said Zahidul Islam Chowdhury, deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
On Tuesday, after a body was rescued, police initially said the deceased was Nariya 2 support staff Sajal Talukder. After further inquiry, the police later said the body was not of Sajal Talukder but of one Sajal Paul, who was reported missing from Khulna five days back.
Lt Md Kawsarul Islam of the Titurmir naval base in Khulna said: “I along with by 10 divers has frantically been trying to continue our operation. But our divers cannot go deep into the river due to strong currents. The currents are so furious that we cannot pull MV Mouchak up despite being able to locate it.”
BIWTA Joint Director Md Fazlur Rahman said: “MV Mouchak is resting on the riverbed at a depth of about 30-40 feet. The BIWTA salvage vessel has now been beached at WAPDA Terminal. Our operation will resume tomorrow [today] if the other launches are spotted.”