MUNSHIGANJ: At least 14 drowned and many went missing as a launch capsized in the river Padma near Mawa ghat in Lauhajang upazila on Monday morning, unofficial sources said.
Official sources, however, claimed recovery of two bodies.
Mawa police outpost SI Khalid Hossain said two bodies were recovered till 1pm and many are still missing. Two of the dead were women, aged between 25-30.
Local divers and army personnel are conducting the rescue operation.
Mawa Highway Traffic Inspector Shahdat Hossain said the Mawa-bound "Pinak-6" launch caught in the strong current soon after sailing and sank in the mid-river at around 11am. The overloaded launch capsized at Hajra point.
It is not clear how many passengers are rescued from the accident-ridden launch. But, Mawa Sea Boat Owners' Association officer Ohidul Sardar said over 100 passengers have been rescued so far and over 100 passengers might have trapped in the sunken launch.
BIWTA Assistant Manager Abdul Alim said Pinak 6 capsized in the Padma river with 150 passengers on board around 11am.
He said 50 passengers were rescued so far.
However, Louhajang Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Khalequzzaman said the launch was carrying over 300 passengers.
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However, officials in the district are giving contradictory information about the number of passengers of the launch.
BIWTA Assistant Manager Abdul Alim claimed Pinak- 6 capsized in the Padma river with 150 passengers on board around 11am. of them, 50 passengers were rescued so far, he said.
But, Louhajang Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Khalequzzaman said the launch was carrying over 300 passengers.
BIWTC sources said ferry services on the route have been suspended from 9pm on Sunday till Monday morning due to inclement weather thus could create excessive pressure on the launch.
However, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan reached the spot.
Salvage vessel Hamza has already left for Munshiganj to conduct the rescue operation.