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Families demand quick recovery of bodies missing in Panchagarh boat capsize

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Mourning family members and relatives of the victims of a deadly boat capsize who have been waiting on the banks of the Korotoa river in Panchagarh have demanded that the authorities recover the bodies of their missing loved ones as soon as possible.

Authorities believe some bodies may have washed away to the adjacent rivers by the strong current or may have been stuck in some pockets of the stony riverbed, reports

“The rescue efforts are being delayed due to these factors,” said Sujoy Kumar Roy, chief of Panchagarh's Boda Police station.

Witnesses said the boat with at least 150 people on board capsized on Sunday. The travellers were heading to a temple for the Mahalaya festival ahead of Durga Puja.

At least 50 bodies have been recovered so far by joint efforts of the divers of the Fire Service and Civil Defence and volunteers. At least 34 victims are still missing. Diving teams from Rajshahi, Rangpur and Kurigram have joined the rescue operation.

The divers, while filing this report on Monday evening, stretched their search areas to downstream of the river as well.

Inconsolable families demand quick recovery of bodies still missing in Panchagarh boat capsize

As many as 25 bodies, including those of eight children and 12 women, were found by rescuers in the wake of the incident on Sunday. The authorities have recovered 25 more since Monday morning after an overnight pause in rescue efforts.

The family members kept their own searches on with torchlights with the hope that bodies may surface at night.

Middle-aged Krishna Roy from Boda has been waiting on the banks of the Korotoa since he received the news of the accident.

Two of his sons, Jagadish Roy, 25, and Oshta Roy, 20, are still missing.

“I was here [on the river bank] until late last night, but couldn’t trace my sons. I came back again this morning and have yet to receive any update. I don’t know what to do,” he said.

Inconsolable families demand quick recovery of bodies still missing in Panchagarh boat capsize

Monika Rani has been looking for her mother Biju Bala, 50, and aunt Sumi Rani, 45.

“Damn my luck! My father couldn’t eat anything since he heard the news. We are all about to lose sanity,” she said.

A middle-aged man has been begging the authorities present on the banks of the river to help him find a family member.

Sexagenarian Prabhat, who identified himself with his first name, was inconsolable.

His son Kishore, 45, daughter-in-law Konika, 40, and niece Parul were on board the boat when it sank.

“I advised them to stay alert as the boat exceeded its capacity of passengers. They knew the risk,” he said.

An elderly man said he lost three family members - his sister, her daughter, and her mother-in-law.

Inconsolable families demand quick recovery of bodies still missing in Panchagarh boat capsize

“I’ve identified the bodies of my sister and her mother-in-law. Still waiting for my niece’s body,” he said.

He said a family in his village lost five members.

Four members of another family from a different village perished in the tragedy. They were Tara Roy, 22, Laxmi Rani Roy, 22, and their sons Dipankar Roy, 5, and Bijon Roy, 7.

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