Launch fire tragedy: Probe body visits spot

A seven-member probe body formed by the Ministry of Shipping on Saturday visited Avijan-10 launch that caught fire in Jhalkathi district on Friday, leaving over three dozens of people dead and many burn injured.

The probe body also recorded the statements of the witnesses at 11 am on Saturday.

The committee led by joint secretary of the shipping ministry Tofayel Ahmed will investigate the cause of the fire, negligence of the authorities concerned and will submit a report to the ministry within three working days.

Police filed an unnatural death case over the incident on Saturday at Jhalakathi police station.

Fire Service and Civil Defence members and coast guards resumed an operation in the Sugandha River to trace out the missing ones on Saturday morning.

At least 40 passengers were burned to death and 72 others injured after a massive fire broke out in the engine room of the launch in the middle of the Sugandha River off the coast of Jhalakathi Sadar Upazila.

The blaze broke out at 3am on Friday on the Barguna-bound launch carrying some 800 passengers from Dhaka and it engulfed the entire vessel within 10 minutes.

Volunteers of Jhalakathi Red Crescent Society said they have ascertained a list of 52 passengers of the launch who had gone missing after the fire incident and they got the information from the families rushing to the district in search of their relatives.

On Friday night, 37 bodies were sent to Barguna Deputy Commissioner’s office from Jhalakathi General Hospital and the bodies of seven people were handed over to the families of the victims on Saturday.

Two of the deceased, Taifa-7 and Labiba, 4, who were injured in the fire, died on their way to Dhaka on Friday, reports UNB Barishal correspondent after talking with the relatives of the two victims.

Besides, another victim, who was undergoing treatment at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, succumbed to his injuries on Friday night, taking the total death toll to 40.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority formed a separate six-member committee and Jhalakathi district administration formed another five-membere committee to investigate the launch fire incident.

Source: United News of Bangladesh