Rescuers look 20km downstream

MUNSHIGANJ LAUNCH CAPSIZE
43 bodies recovered, 122 still missing
Rescuers in Munshiganj have identified ‘several’ possible locations within 20 kilometres downstream in Padma from where Pinak-6 capsized on Monday.

Survey vessel Kandari-2 is working at the locations calculating the weight of the launch and the intensity of the current, our correspondent reports from Munshiganj quoting officials concerned.

On the sixth day of the tragedy, body of a five-year-old child victim was recovered in Lalmohan Upazila of Bhola this morning while two bodies were whisked from Hatia upazila of Noakhali, sending death toll to 43.

Rescuers found the body on the bank of the Meghna River around 10:00am, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.

Total 122 passengers of the sunken launch Pinak-6 are still missing and believed to be dead.

Survey vessels Jarip-10 and Kandari-2 resumed search today after rain hampered their work last night.

These two vessels are able to locate objects 18 to 70 feet under the river sediment, according to the officials concerned.

Meanwhile, four more vessels – Teesta, Sandhan, IT-97 and Ba-Dwip – started using side scan sonar technology in their searching strategy, said Commander Habibul Alam, deputy director of Naval Headquarters.

“They are searching the adjacent 50 square kilometres from the actual spot with graph tubes that are able to follow the optimal current of the river,” he added.

Using the similar technology, Kandari-2 went 20 kilometres downstream, the official said.

A metallic object was found a kilometre away from Mawa launch ghat, said Capt Manjurul Karim Chowdhury, captain of Kandari-2.

“We sent are sending divers to examine it,” he added.

Rescue vessels Nirvik and Rustam were seen floating idly in mid-Padma as the location of Pinak-6 was not found.

Denying an allegation of delaying the search operation, Shamsuddoha Khandaker, chairman of Bangladesh Internal Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) told The Daily Star: “We are trying our best. There is a rigorous whirlpool near the spot and the depth of the water is about 80 to 90 feet.

“A massive hole has been created on the riverbed by the whirlpool; the sunken launch might have been covered by sediment in there,” he added.

thedailystar