39 killed launch catches fire in Jhalakathi

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NewsNow Desk: At least 39 people were charred to death fire that broke out on a launch carrying some 800 passengers from Dhaka to Barguna in the early hours of Friday.

The blaze, in fact, began on Avijan-10 in the middle of the Sugandha river off the coast of Jhalakathi district’s Sadar upazila around 3am. Within five to 10 minutes, the flames engulfed the entire vessel.

“We were alerted around 3.30am,” Fazlul Haque of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Barishal, told .

However, due to dense fog in the area, the first firefighting vessels took some time to reach the ill-fated launch.
“So far, 39 bodies have been recovered from the ill-fated launch,” said Khalilur Rahman, Officer-in-Charge of Jhalakathi Sadar police station.

Meanwhile, Deputy Assistant Director (media cell) of Fire Service and Civil Defense HQ, Md Shahjahan Sikder confirmed of 72 injured passengers being rescued.

Of them, 48 seriously injured passengers were admitted to the Barishal government hospital.

15 fire tenders took nearly two hours to bring the blaze under control, at 5.20am,” said fire officials.

Later in the day, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority formed a six-member committee to investigate the launch fire. Md Saiful Islam, additional director of port and transportation department, will head it.

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