by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
At least 26 people have been killed after two river vessels collided on Padma river near Shibchar town of Madaripur district on Monday, officials said.
“Rescuers have found 26 bodies on the river so far,” Rahima Khatun, head of the district administration, told reporters at the scene after the tragic accident.
The accident occurred when a speedboat carrying more than 30 passengers hit a sand-laden cargo vessel near Kathalbari river port, leaving the passenger-carrying motorboat overturned in the river.
Local residents immediately rescued five passengers and rushed them to hospital. Later, divers from Fire Service and Civil Defence department, river police and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority joined the rescue operation.
They retrieved bodies of three children, a woman and 22 men from the river, said Mohammad Asaduzzaman, the Upazial Nirbahi Officer of Sibchar.
Ashiqur Rahman, a police officer at the river port, said the speedboat was carrying passengers from Munshiganj to Madaripur. It met the accident on the way.
Investigators were assigned to report in three days to determine the cause of the accident, Rahima Khatun said.
The motorboat was carrying passengers in absence of regular transportation service in absence of a regular transportation service that was shut since April 5 as part of a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Khatun added that the investigators will also look into the matter as to how the motorboat was ferrying passengers defying the lockdown rules.
She said her administration was trying to identify the bodies to hand them to their respective families.