Launch fire incident: 41 dead, three investigation committees formed

Situation Report #17, 26 December 2021

A launch named “Ovijan-10” caught fire in middle of night (3 am) at Friday, 24th December 2021 in Sugandha river, near Jhalokathi shadar. According to newspaper sources, about 800 passengers (310, according to BIWTA) boarded the launch which started journey from Dhaka and was bounded to Barguna.

Number of dead people
About 41 people died in the incident and the number of injured people is 85 (as of 26 December, 2021). According to newspaper sources, the number of missing people is 51 (25 December, 2021).
About 85 injured persons are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Dhaka, Barishal and Jhalokathi.

Three investigation bodies formed
A seven member probe body formed by the Ministry of shipping on Friday, who visited the launch on Friday (24 December, 2021) and recorded the statements of witnesses on Saturday (25 December, 2021). They are ordered to submit a report on the incident in next three working days from the visit day. According to the primary investigation, it appeared that the engines of the launch had some problems. Moreover, the launch was being driven by another sailor who was not registered.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has also formed a committee of six members to investigate the incident on the Friday.
Jhalokathi District Administration has also formed another five member committee to investigate the case.
Police filed an unnatural death case over the incident at Jhalokathi police station on Saturday.

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