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Meghna death toll jumps to 54: Sunken launch salvaged

Meghna death toll jumps to 54: Sunken launch salvaged

The death toll from the Thursday’s launch capsize in the Meghna River in Gazaria upazila climbed to 54 with the recovery of  23 more bodies on Saturday.   The sunken launch ‘MV Miraj-4’ was salvaged and taken to the bank of the river.   Deputy Commissioner of Munshignaj Md Saiful Hasan Badal announced the ending of the launch salvage operation at a press briefing at 3 pm.   He said the local administration will continue their rescue operation in the Meghan River and the adjoining areas until the missing people area traced. A total of 23 bodies were pulled out from the river till this afternoon increasing the death toll to 54, said Gazaria Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) ATM Mahabubul Karim.   Of the recovered bodies, 53 were handed over to the relatives of the victims.   However, the UNO said it could not be confirmed how many people still remain missing.   Dr. Samsuddoha Khandker, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), announced closure of the rescue operation at 9 am.   Being angered by the news, relatives of the deceased and the missing people launched an attack on the salvage vessel ‘Prataya’.   Later, local lawmaker Mrinal Kanti Das and Deputy Commissioner Mohamamd Saiful Hasan Badal brought the situation under control assuring them of continuing the rescue operation.   The air of the accident site was heavy with the wailing of the victims’ relatives.   The Sureshwar-bound launch, ‘MV Miraj-4’, carrying over 200 passengers sank near Gazaria Launch Ghat in the Meghna after it was caught by a violent storm on Thursday afternoon.   Gazaria Upazila Nirbahi Officer ATM Mahbubul Alam, said no case was filed in connection with the accident.   Earlier, locals started the rescue operation soon after the launch capsize at Daulatpur in the Meghna. Later, divers from Fire Service, Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard joined the rescue operation.   Three rescue ships– ‘Prataya’,
‘Durbar’ and ‘Durjoy’– were also called in. –UNB