Death toll stands at 47, at least 58 still missing
The probe committee formed by the Shipping Ministry has been given three more working days from Wednesday to finish its investigation into the unprecedented disaster witnessed in Jhalakathi last Friday morning, of a passenger launch filled to the brim going up in flames on a riverway.
On December 24, the Shipping Ministry formed the seven-member probe committee, asking it to submit its report within three working days. But the deadline was missed.
As per the appeal of the committee, three more working days have been granted, according to a notification issued by the ministry.
Shipping Ministry Joint Secretary Tofayel Ahmed is the convener, while Deputy Secretary Aminur Rahman will act as its member secretary.
The confirmed death toll from Friday’s deadly fire on MV Obhijan 10 off the coast of Jhalakathi rose to 47 on Wednesday, with the recovery of two more bodies from the Sugandha River as Coast Guard members and firefighters continued searching the river for a sixth day in a row.
According to a list of the missing compiled by the Jhalakathi office of the Red Crescent Society, at least 58 people are still missing.
Meanwhile, an FIR was lodged at Jhalakathi police station on Monday night, following a complaint from the victims’ side, accusing eight people, including launch co-owner Hamjalal Sheikh, for the tragedy.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Hamjalal in connection with the deadly fire on board the MV Obhijan 10. His arrest followed the Dhaka Marine Court’s warrants for the arrest of four owners and four staffers of the launch in a case filed by the Department of Shipping.
The blaze broke out around 3am on Friday on the Barguna-bound launch carrying some 800 passengers from Dhaka and it engulfed the entire vessel within 10 minutes.