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Launch capsize toll shoots to 110

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DEATH toll from Tuesday’s launch capsize rose to 110 on Wednesday as rescuers salvaged the sunken vessel 37 hours after it capsized in the Meghna river in Gazaria upazila of Munshiganj.

Divers recovered the bodies of 74 passengers from the river after they resumed rescue operation around 7:00am Wednesday. The death toll was 36 on Tuesday.

In the afternoon, Munshiganj Deputy Commissioner Azizul Alam told reporters that the district administration prepared a list of 61 missing people after bring informed from their relatives, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) authorities announced closure of the salvage campaign around 5:00pm. It however started rescue operation again half an hour later in search of more bodies.

MV Shariatpur-1 capsized in Meghna river around 2:30am Tuesday after a cargo vessel hit it at Char Kishori in Gazaria upazila.

The first phase of the rescue operation ended Tuesday night after the rescuers recovered 36 bodies.

To expedite the salvage operation, rescue vessel Hamza reached Char Kishori from Barisal around 1:30am on Wednesday to join another rescue vessel Rustom, which was working at the spot since Tuesday morning.

Hamza and Rustom started operation to salvage the sunken launch from the river around 7:30am. The rescue vessels dragged the launch towards the shore around 9:00am and kept it six metres off the bank for six hours.

Hamza and Rustom pulled out the launch from the river around 3:15pm, the correspondent said. Many bodies were trapped inside MV Shariatpur-1 when it was lifted from the water.

BIWTA sources said it took time to salvage the 200-tonne launch, as MV Rustam and Hamza together are capable to lift only 120 tonnes.

Wailing of the relatives has created a heart- rending scene at Char Kishori when the rescuers pulled out the bodies one after another.

Some of the relatives spent the whole night at a temporary shelter centre set up at Char Kishoreganj adjacent to the spot for their near and dead one while many flocked there in the morning.


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