By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - The death toll from Friday’s ferry fire incident in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka has risen to 38, hospital sources said on Saturday, as search and rescue operations continue for a second day.
At least 40 seriously injured commuters are still being treated at three hospitals in Dhaka and southern Barisal division. Of them, the condition of more than one dozen people is said to be critical.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Dr. Samanta Lal Sen at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in the capital, said: “We are now treating a total of 15 ferry fire patients. One of them died today (Saturday) and the condition of the others is also critical.”
In the early hours of Friday, the passenger ferry, MV Ovijan, caught fire on Friday on the river Sugandaha while heading to the southern district of Barguna from the capital Dhaka.
“Our rescue team, along with members of the coast guard and other agencies, is still patrolling along the river in search of the missing ones. Till now, we have recovered 37 dead bodies and we have learnt that one of the injured persons has succumbed to his injuries,” Brig. Gen. Sajjad Hossain, the director-general of the country's Fire Service and Civil Defense, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.
Meanwhile, several local media outlets reported that the death toll from the incident has reached 41.
“I feel sick when I recall the horrific scenes from the incident,” Mohammad Racel, a cabin boy of the ill-fated vessel, told Anadolu Agency.
“Some other commuters and I jumped into the river and somehow came to land,” he added.
Three separate investigative committees have been formed to ascertain the cause of the blaze.
According to preliminary evidence and statements of eyewitnesses, the fire originated from the engine room after the explosion of a gas cylinder.