MUNSHIGANJ, Mar 15 (BSS)- The death toll from the early Wednesday's launch capsize in the Meghna river rose to 138 as rescuers today retrieved 26 more bodies including one from the salvaged double-deck vessel MV Shariatpur-1.
"Twenty six more bodies were retrieved today as local
administration, police and coast guard continued searches"
despite official closure of the salvage campaign yesterday
afternoon, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj M Azizul Alam told
BSS this afternoon.
He added that one of the 26 bodies was found inside the
salvaged vessel while the rests were floating on the river mostly
around the accident scene though the river took three of the
bodies to Shatnal area of neighbouring Chandpur to be recovered
by the people in the neighbourhood.
Rescuers said of the 138 bodies retrieved, nine were of
minor children and 37 women.
Authorities late yesterday called off the salvage campaign
counting 112 deaths two days after a sunken ferry was retrieved
from under 70 feet waters 37 hours since it capsized in the
Meghna at Gazaria in suburban Munshiganj area.
Witnesses said despite the salvage of the vessel, relatives
of missing people still looked for their bodies as fire service
and coastguard divers continuing the search while the officials
now say based on the relatives statements they assumed only two
more bodies were yet to be found while the figure was 16
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Gazaria police station Shahidul
Islam told BSS five bodies are yet to be identified.
The accident perished two entire families while survivors
said most of the passengers were asleep as MV Shariatpur sank
while it was coming to Dhaka's Sadarghat Terminal from Sureshwar
in western Shariatpur.
Officials earlier said the exact number of the passengers
could not be confirmed as the launch did not maintain a register
but estimated that some 300 passengers were onboard as it sank
under 70 feet water after being hit by a sand-laden cargo in the
dark of night.
Most of the passengers were residents of Shariatpur who were
coming to the capital to join works or for business purposes
while three of the missing passengers were Bangladesh-born US
Over 50 passengers swam to safety while others were rescued
by two passing ferries and fishing boats nearby while the master
of one of the ferries said he stopped his launch hearing screams
and seeing people were floating in the mid river in the dark of