Rifat could not hold onto mother’s hand

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:08, Jun 30,2020


Rifat Rahman had no such traumatic memory in his 19 years of life which he gained on Monday.

He was travelling on the Morning Bird launch to Dhaka from Munshiganj with her mother Moyna Begum and younger sister Mukta Akter in the sunny morning which suddenly met with an accident after almost reaching its destination.

When they were preparing to disembark, the overloaded small launch sank with 80-90 passengers at 9:00am after it was hit by another big launch.

Hours after the incident, rescuers recovered 32 bodies, including the bodies of his mother and sister.

‘My mother held one of my hands and I held one of my sister’s hands as we were about to get off the launch. At that time another launch suddenly hit our launch and the impact separated us as we began to sink,’ Rifat told New Age in tears after identifying the bodies at Mitford Hospital.

Rifat, who sustained injuries, said that both his mother and sister could swim but  they could not save themselves as the launch flipped over within 30-40 seconds.

He was lamenting the fact that if he could hold on to his mother’s hand she would be still alive.

While Rifat was crying over the deaths of his mother and sister, several others also were in tears after losing their near ones in this awkward accident that happened just before disembarkation.

At least four families were found who lost more than two members of their family.

At least 11 persons were killed in the same incident of the four families who hailed from Munshiganj.

Dead victim Golap Ali, 55, uncle of Sumona Begum, 35, was coming to Dhaka to visit a doctor for her son Tamim, 13, in the morning as doctor asked them to come in empty stomach.

All three died, said Akash, Tamim’s uncle.

Akash gets all three bodies of the family but Hamida Begum, sister of dead victim Hasina Begum, could not locate her dead husband till 5:30pm.

Hamida said that the body of her sister Hasina, 35, and her son Sifat, a nine-grader were identified, but Hasina’s husband Abdur Rahman, 45, remained missing.

Hamida told New Age that they hailed from Mirkadim in Munshignaj.

Nother grieving relative, Tafura Begum, was searching for the bodies of her sister Nasima, 40, daughter Aysha and her grandson Rayhan, 2, in front of morgue of Mitford Hospital where over 32 bodies of the launch capsize victims were kept.

Tafura said that her son Rashid Miah could escape death but could not save lives of other members of her family.

River police officials said that they found injury marks in most of the bodies of the victims.

Relatives of the victims said that many people who know how to swim also died in the incident.

Injured victims said that the launch had faulty design which made escape difficult for many and it sank as quickly as it flipped over after hit by a sizable launch named Mayur-2.

A pall of gloom descended on both banks of the river where relatives were waiting to get bodies of their dear ones.

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