Blast in engine room likely triggered fatal launch fire

The three-storey launch caught fire around early on Friday, killing at least 40 people

The Fire Service suspects that the flames that swept through the launch in Jhalakathi, killing at least 40 people, originated from the vessel’s engine room and likely caused by some kind of explosion.

However, it was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.

Survivors said that they heard a loud bang before the blaze started the engine room and soon engulfed the vessel.

The launch had an eatery beside the engine room, they said, adding that the gas cylinders there helped the fire spread at a rapid pace.

It is not possible to determine the cause of the blast without a thorough investigation, said Barisal Fire Service Deputy Director Kamal Hossain Bhuiyan.

Echoing, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Anabil of the Coast Guard said the agency needs more time to look into the incident.

The authorities have yet to trace a single staff member of the launch “MV Obhijan 10” and get their accounts.

The three-storey launch caught fire around 3am on Friday on the Sugandha River.

Fifteen units of firefighters managed to tame the blaze around 5:20am, with assistance from the Coast Guard, police and local volunteers.

The launch was about 1.5km away from the Jhalakathi launch terminal when the fire erupted.

Many passengers jumped into the river in a bid to save their lives as the fire raged for hours. Survivors said the launch was packed with passengers.

Rescuers have recovered 40 bodies so far from the charred launch. Officials said the death toll is likely to rise. More than 70 people have been hospitalized with injuries.

Powered by Froala Editor