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Inquiry body to quiz Buriganga tragedy witnesses PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 March 2008

Staff Correspondent

Members of the inquiry committee will interview witnesses, boatmen and surviving passengers Sunday to get the clue to the Buriganga river tragedy that claimed 39 lives.

The Munshiganj bound ML Saurav-1 sank 45 feet deep in the river after being hit from behind by sand-laden cargo vessel MV Ibrahim Modi near Hasnabad Ghat of Mokampara in Keraniganj Thursday afternoon.

A total of 39 bodies were recovered, including seven trapped inside the launch, which was pulled out of water Friday morning. The government formed a five-member probe committee headed by shipping ministry joint secretary MA Matin.

The other members of the committee are the secretary of BIWTA, chief engineer of Department of Shipping, additional district magistrate and additional superintendent of police of Dhaka. The committee, which has been asked to submit its report in seven days, visited the salvaged launch and talked to some witnesses Friday.

An official at the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority said that they requested witnesses from both sides of the river to record their versions on Sunday. ‘We also asked the boatmen and some passengers of the launch through loud speakers to assist the inquiry committee at BIWTA office at Sadarghat,’ he added.

No more body was recovered from the scene on Saturday. But relatives of some missing passengers continued their searches for the bodies. Laundryman Kawsar Ahmed of Munshiganj on Saturday was madly searching for his two nephews Rajib, 10 and Sajib, 8 as they boarded the launch for Munshiganj along with their grandmother Anwara, uncle Yousuf and aunt Farzana.

Yousuf and Farzana managed to swim ashore soon after the accident, but Anwara and her two grandchildren drowned. Rescuers found the body of Anwara, but could not trace Rajib and Sajib till Saturday evening.

Police filed a case against the unknown master of the sand-laden vessel MV Ibrahim Modi, who went into hiding after the incident, said Selim Sazzad, the officer-in-charge of the South Keraniganj police station assigned the investigation officer of the case. ‘We are trying to get the master,’ said the police officer.

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