Bangladesh arrests ferry owner after blaze that killed 41

The government has constituted a seven-member committee of officials and fire experts to submit a report on the incident, which is due in two days.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), earlier, had filed a case against the accused persons. (AP)
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), earlier, had filed a case against the accused persons. (AP)

Bangladesh’s elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Monday arrested the owner of an overcrowded ferry that caught fire and killed at least 41 people last week, as investigators found the blaze was caused by the vessel’s faulty engine.

“We have arrested one of the owners of the launch (ferry), Mohammad Jalal Sheikh from Dhaka’s Keraniganj area where he was hiding,” a RAB spokesman said after a court ordered the arrest of eight people, including owners of the vessel MV Obhijaan-10, its master the crew.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), earlier, had filed a case against the accused persons.

The government has constituted a seven-member committee of officials and fire experts to submit a report on the incident, which is due in two days.

The fire broke out at the ferry Friday last week, when it was heading to southern Barguna from Dhaka, carrying nearly 800 passengers. While most of the victims were trapped inside, many drowned as they jumped into the midstream of the Sugandha River in Jhalakathi district.

This accident was the latest in a number of similar incidents in Bangladesh, a small country criss-crossed by a network of over 200 rivers. The watercourses cover nearly 7 per cent of the total area of the country.

An overloaded speedboat, allegedly driven by an inexperienced underage boy, capsized in Bangladesh after a collision with a sand laden vessel in May this year, killing at least 26 people.

In June last year, a ferry carrying over 100 passengers capsized in the Buriganga river in Bangladesh after it was hit from behind by another ferry, killing at least 32 people.

In February 2015, at least 78 people died when an overcrowded ship collided with a cargo vessel.

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