Brahmanbaria: at least 21 dead after two boats collide
by Sumon Corraya

Yesterday, a ferry boat and a sand trawler collided on the Laiska river. There are still several people missing and at least 30 injured. The district authority has already opened an investigation. Every year in Bangladesh hundreds of people die in boat accidents.



Brahmanbaria (AsiaNews) - At least 21 people died yesterday after a passenger ferry collided with a fishing boat loaded with sand in the Laiska river. According to witnesses, after the first collision, another fishing boat hit the ferry and their boat sank. At the moment, there are still several people missing and 30 injured. 

Akhi Begum, a mother of two, was on the boat with her husband. She was holding her young daughter on her lap and her ten-year-old son by the hand. "Suddenly I heard a sound and my son was torn from me. By swimming I managed to save myself and my daughter, but I don't know what happened to my son," she told AsiaNews. Her husband is being treated at Brahmanbaria hospital. 

Within a few hours, the district authority and the local police chief reached the scene of the accident. Rescue services and a team of divers from the nearby district of Kishoreganj also arrived.

The deputy commissioner of Brahmanbaria, Hayat-ud-Dowllah Khan, said that the families of the deceased would receive 20,000 Bengali taka (200 euros) each for the burial of their loved ones. He added that a three-member special committee headed by a district magistrate is already investigating the incident and will have three days to submit a report. 

Johurul Islam was supposed to go to his father-in-law's house with his wife. At present, the woman is missing. Her elder brother, Safiqual Islam, said he had warned Johurul: "I told him not to go to his father-in-law's in the boat, but he did not listen to me and now we are crying over the incident. We have not found his wife."

Every year in Bangladesh hundreds of people die from boating accidents. In February 2015, at least 78 people died after a boat collided with a cargo ship. In June last year in Dhaka 32 people died when two ferries collided.