A launch carrying around 100 passengers sank in the Shitalakkha river in Narayanganj of Bangladesh after being hit by a goods-laden cargo vessel on Sunday, and at least 70 people are reported missing, officials said. The body of a woman has been recovered but her identity could not be ascertained yet, police told IANS.
According to Narayanganj's Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Abdullah Arefin, a launch named "ML Sabit Al Hasan" sank after colliding with the cargo vessel near Munshiganj (Koyla Ghat). Rescue operations are being hampered due to stormy weather, he added.
Prottyoy, a rescue ship of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is on the way to the location. The casualties are yet not known, said Madanganj port police outpost Inspector Md Akbar Hossain.
Police and onlookers said that the passenger launch left Narayanganj for Munshiganj with around 100 passengers. When it reached Syedpur Koyla Ghat area, it collided with a cargo vessel and sank, while the latter vessel quickly fled.
Hossain told IANS that after talking to eyewitnesses and passengers of the launch, it was learned that there were about 100 passengers in the launch, and around 30 passengers were able to reach ashore with the help of the locals.
"A number of passengers are still missing, as per eyewitnesses and relatives, and we are still searching for them," he added.