The freight ship that sank a passenger launch never slowed down after smashing into it despite onlookers from nearby vessels screaming in horror, according to one witness.
The cargo vessel MV Rupshi-9 bore down on the side of the launch, ML Ashraf Uddin-2, with great force and eventually plunged it into the water near the coal market in Sonakanda around 2:00 pm on Sunday, reports bdnews24.com.
Divers have pulled five bodies out of the Shitalakkhya River so far while members of the Coast Guard, River Police and BIWTA were continuing a search and rescue operation.
Passenger Rakib Al Raju was travelling from Narayanganj to Madaripur on another launch, named MV Naria-4, during the incident and witnessed the collision.
“Having arrived near the new bridge in Narayanganj around 2:10 pm, I saw the ship getting over the launch,” he said.
“But the ship did not slow down. The ship’s pilot might not have seen it. We kept screaming, but it did not work.”
As the horror unfolded, Raju filmed the terrifying moments on his mobile phone and shared it on Facebook. The clip went viral.
The video shows the ship broadsiding the launch as frightened passengers leapt off in hopes of swimming to safety. This went on for almost 25 seconds before the launch sank into the water as the ship ran relentlessly over it.
The MV Afsar Uddin-2 headed for Munshiganj from the Narayanganj launch terminal, according to Badiuzzaman Badol, president of the Narayanganj Zone of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority.
The Rupshi-9 vessel subsequently struck the launch in the Sonakanda area and fled the scene as the launch sank, he said.
The Rupshi-9 was built in 2019, according to vesselfinder.com, a vessel-tracking website.