Survivors blame speedboat driver for the fatal crash, saying he was speeding recklessly
Shahadat Hossain Molla was returning to his home in Madaripur after attending a job interview in the capital.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, his journey was cut short by Monday’s speedboat crash on the Padma River.
Early in the morning, Shahadat along with 30 other passengers and two crew members started from the Shimulia pier to the Banglabazar pier.
The speedboat rammed into a sand-carrier as it neared the Kanthalbari ferry terminal before going down, leaving 26 people dead. Six people were rescued alive.
Shahadat, 26, the youngest son of Adam Ali Molla and Rizia Begum of Niamatkandi village in Shibchar upazila, recently graduated from the Jagannath University in Dhaka.
His brother Shahidul, broke into tears as he identified the body of his sibling at Dotara Government Primary School near the Banglabazar ghat. “I had asked you not to travel during lockdown but you didn’t listen and now we have lost you forever!”
No one there had the words to comfort his loss.
Aduri Begum was going to Faridpur from Dhaka on the same speedboat with her husband and daughter to attend her mother’s funeral.
She survived, but her husband and one-and-half-year daughter could not make it.
“I’ve lost everything … Nothing is left,” she said after identifying the bodies,
Aduri was among the six people who were rescued alive and taken to the Shibchar Upazila Health Complex.
After receiving first aid, she was taken to Dotara Government Primary School, where she found her husband and child among 26 bodies. The school grounds were crowded with people who came to search for their loved ones.
Shibchar police OC Miraz Hossain said the speedboat was carrying 32 passengers. Six survivors were hospitalized.
The survivors blamed the speedboat driver for the accident, saying he was speeding “recklessly” right from the start of the trip.
They also said that the speedboat had boarded passengers over its capacity.
The district administration in Madaripur and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority have launched investigations into the disaster.
As the virus lockdown shut public transportation, including launch services, some small passenger water transports continued their services, taking advantage of the desperate people.
The speedboat was not supposed to carry passengers as travel through the rivers has been paused since April 5 when the government imposed virus restrictions.