Patharghata Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Hossain Muhammed Al Mujahid has narrowly escaped the deadly inferno that broke out in a Barguna-bound launch MV Abhijan early Friday.
He described the horrific moments of the incident to the media.
Survivor Hossan Muhammed Al Mujahid and his wife Ummul Ara were onboard a VIP cabin on the first floor of the launch.
Mujahid said, smoke came out of the fire gripped the cabin area and creating a suffocating environment there at around 3 am. Passengers started screaming. He and his wife hurriedly went to the front side of the launch.
“I can’t explain how I came at the front gate of the launch with Ummul Ara. No sooner had the launch anchored Diyakul village of Jhalokathi, we got off. Scores of passengers could exit the launch but, most of them were stranded. Many jumped into the river. Whether or not they can swim ashore, even their relatives can’t say,” Mujahid said.
“Many people were seen returning to the launch as they missed their children and get stranded in the launch. A horrific scenario was created there with the screaming of children and women,” the UNO furthered.
The Barguna-bound MV Abhijan-10 left Dhaka Sadarghat on Thursday evening. The engine room of the launch caught fire around 3 am while the launch was about to anchor Jhalokathi terminal. The blaze soon gripped the entire launch.
Rescuers have recovered 40 bodies so far following the incident. Survivors said, there were 300-350 passengers on board the launch.