Dhaka, Dec 24: At least 30 people were burnt to death and over 100 injured as a launch that had been carrying over 700 passengers onboard caught fire on Sugandha River at Gabkhan-Dhansiri area under Sadar upazila in Jhalokathi on early Friday, the police and fire service and civil defence officials said.
Identities of the victims could not be known immediately.
Jhalokathi Sadar police station officer-in-charge Khalilur Rahman said at about 10:00am that the fire service rescuers and law enforcers search operation was in progress.‘Bodies of 30 people were recovered so far.
The number of burn injured people will be over 100. The launch had been carrying 700 to 800 passengers,’ Jhalokathi deputy commissioner Md Zohor Ali told New Age at about 9:45am.
He said that the injured ones were rushed to Jhalokathi Sadar Hospital and, of them, the critically injured ones were being referred to Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital.
Fire service officials said that at least 90 people were hospitalised until 9:30am.
‘The launch caught fire at about 3:00am on Friday while it was on its way to Barguna from Dhaka,’ said Kamal Uddin, deputy director of fire service and civil defence in Barishal.
He said that the rescue vessel was late to reach the spot due to dense fog.
Fire service officials said that they primarily assumed that the fatal fire might be originated from the engine room and engulfed the other places of the launch.
A number of passengers on the spot told reporters that they noticed the fire in the engine room of the launch at about 3:00am and jumped into the river to save their lives.