Dhaka – At least 15 people have been killed and scores others wounded in separate road crashes in Bangladesh’s eastern Habiganj and Brahmanbaria districts on Friday, police said.
Nine persons were killed after a minibus carrying 13 passengers hit a roadside tree and then fell into a ditch in Kandigaon area of Habiganj district. Eight of them died on the scene while another person succumbed to his injury at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital, Highway police officer Ershadul Haq Bhuiyan said.
The injured are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Condition of one of them is reported to be critical. Police said the passengers of the minibus were travelling to Dhaka after visiting Sylhet. Most of the victims are from Barisal, but they used to live in Dhaka.
Several hours before the accident, a minibus carrying 10 passengers caught on fire after it hit a passenger bus coming from the opposite direction in neighbouring Brahmanbaria district. Five passengers of the minibus burnt to death on the scene.
Firefighters and police rescued the survivors. But another person died at a local hospital. The rest of the burn injured passengers were sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for improved treatment.
Television footage show the minibus was in flame and burnt to ashes and the other passenger bus was nose-dived into a paddy field by the side of Dhaka-Sylhet highway.
The passengers of the minibus were on their way to Sylhet, a shrine city, to offer prayers at the shrine of Shahjalal, one of the Muslims Sufi saints.
Police believe over speeding might have caused the accident. The district administrations have constituted committees to determine the cause behind the accidents.
Bangladesh has a high rate of road fatalities, due to lax implementation of laws and the poor condition of roads.
According to the Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association, a civic group, at least 7,855 people were killed in more than 5,500 road crashes in 2019.