The owner declares no mechanical faults when launching Jhalakathi

The picture shows a burning passenger ship on the Sugandha River in Jhalakathi on Friday, December 24, 2021 Bangla Tribune

The launch had at least 21 fire extinguishers, none of which could be used because the fire spread too quickly, according to the owner.

The fatal fire that broke out on the MV Obhijan 10 en route to Barguna from Dhaka on Friday morning in Jhalakathi was not from the engine room, the launch owner said, denying any mechanical faults.

The launch caught fire in the middle of the Sugandha River off the coast of Sadar’s upazila in Jhalakathi, leaving at least 40 dead and many missing.

Contacted at noon on Friday, Hum Jalal Sheikh, the owner of the eviscerated vessel, told UNB that Anwar, one of the launch supervisors, had informed him of the fire around 3 a.m.

Quoting supervisor Anwar, Hum Jalal said there was an explosion on the second floor, followed by a fire that spread to the third floor and downstairs cabins behind the launch. . However, it was not yet clear how the fire started.

Jalal said the launch had at least 21 extinguishers, but the fire spread so quickly there was no time to use them.

Claiming that there were no mechanical faults in the launch, he said if the engine caught fire, the fire would never spread to the whole ship. The fire spread from the second floor to the engine and cabin following an explosion.

Read also- Jhalakathi families throw fire victims to get 1.5L financial aid

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Maritime Transport and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority have formed two separate committees to investigate the blaze. The ministry panel was invited to submit its report within three days.

At least 40 people were charred to death and 70 others injured in the fire that ravaged the speedboat carrying more than 500 passengers.

The fire started aboard the three-story speedboat in the middle of the Sugandha River off Jhalakathi.

“We were alerted around 3:30 am,” said Fazlul Haque of the Barisal fire department and civil protection. However, due to the dense fog in the area, the first firefighting ships were slow to reach the ill-fated launch.

“Some 37 bodies were recovered and 72 people were rescued from the unfortunate launch,” Jhalakathi Moinul Haque’s Supplementary Superintendent of Police (ASP) told UNB.

Of the 37 bodies, four have been identified and the remaining 33 bodies have been sent to the morgue at Jhalakathi Sadar Hospital, ASP said.

Read also- PM orders prompt treatment of victims of Jhalakathi launch

Of the 72 injured, 66 severely burned were admitted to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital (SBMCH) in Barisal. The others are being treated at Jhalakathi Sadar Hospital.

“Of the 66 with up to 50% burns, 18 are female,” said Dr Moniruzzaman, deputy director of SBMCH. “Three women and four men with life-threatening burns have been referred to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital because we do not have a dedicated burn unit.”

However, UNB Barisal correspondent reported that two of the injured died of burns on their way to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

Finally, around fifteen firefighters took nearly two hours to bring the fire under control, at 5:20 a.m. The fire was completely extinguished around 11:30 am.

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