Unnatural death case filed over Jhalakathi launch fire

At least 51 persons from Jhalakathi remain missing

An unnatural death case has been filed following the deaths of at least 38 people when the launch MV Obhijan 10, bound for Barguna from Dhaka, caught fire on the Sugandha River in Jhalakathi early Friday.

Jahangir Hossain, a village police member, filed the case on Saturday with Jhalakathi Sadar police station, confirmed Officer-in-Charge (OC) Khalilur Rahman.

Meanwhile, Jhalakathi Deputy Commissioner Zaheer Ali said Red Crescent’s district branch has collected information of 51 missing persons from victims’ family members.

On the other hand, the control room of Jhalakathi Sadar police station also collected the names of 35 missing persons.

The launch was reportedly carrying around 1,000 passengers and the massive blaze engulfed the entire vessel within 10 minutes.

On Friday, the government announced Tk1.5 lakh as compensation to the families of each victim who lost their lives in the deadly fire.

Expressing profound shock and sorrow at the loss of lives and injuries in the launch fire, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday directed the authorities concerned to ensure quick treatment of the injured and hand over the bodies to their relatives promptly

The government on Friday set up a seven-member committee to probe the launch fire.

Tofayel Ahmed, joint secretary of the shipping ministry, has been made the probe panel's convener, while deputy secretary Aminur Rahman will act as its member secretary, according to a notification issued by the ministry.

The committee has been asked to submit a report to the shipping ministry within three working days, it said.

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