MV Expedition-10 was also competing with other launches with errors

The MV Expedition-10 launch was making a loud noise last Thursday night due to a defect in the new engine. The chimney was not washing normally. There are sparks of fire coming out. In order to compete with other launches, the speed of Expedition-10 was increased. At one point, the washing coil came out in the engine room with a loud noise. Then the power connection of the whole launch was cut off. Then the fire spread to the launch from the engine room.

This information has been obtained from the eyewitnesses of the ground floor of the Abhiyan-10 launch and the staff of the launch. The media spoke to some eyewitnesses at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital on Sunday. The surviving launch passengers gave similar statements to the shipping ministry’s investigation committee in Barguna yesterday.

Meanwhile, all the three committees investigating the incident initially found negligence on the part of the launch authorities. Committee members say the fire started in the engine room. After the fire broke out, the driver and crew left the launch without controlling it. The launch has been kept open without a buoy. Due to this, the passengers could not get down to the river quickly to save their lives. There were no fire extinguishers.

According to the investigation sources, signs of error were found in the firing cord of the engine cylinder. This can also cause a fire. Investigators will confirm the matter by showing the experts.

Two cases, arrest warrants

Lawyer Nazmul Islam Nasir, chairman of M Baliatli Union of the Upazila, has filed a case in the Barguna Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court against Hamjalal Sheikh, owner of Abhiyan-10 launch, as the main accused.

The accused in the case are launch owners Hamzalal Sheikh, Shamim Ahmed, Russell Ahmed, Ferdous Hasan, and also Master in-charge Riaz Ahmed, Master Khalilur Rahman, driver in-charge Mashum Billah, and driver Abul Kalam.

On the other hand, in the Dhaka Naval Court, Chief Inspector of the Department of Maritime Transport Shafiqur Rahman filed another case against the launch owner Hamzalal Sheikh and eight others. Judicial Joint District and Sessions Judge Zainab Begum issued a warrant in the name of the accused after accepting the case yesterday.

When I called Hamjalal Sheikh’s mobile phone last evening to find out about the engine fault and the case, it was found to be off.

I have not seen such sparks from outside

Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital surgery ward (declared burn) lying in bed groaning Abhiyan-10 launch Lashkar Md. Selim (50). When asked, he said, he used to work on the launch of Shahrukh-1 on the Goserhat route. He joined Expedition-10 last Thursday. He does various things including throwing stairs and sweeping. Go to sleep at the prayer place on the second floor around 2 pm. Earlier, when he went downstairs to the bathroom, he saw loud noises and sparks in the engine. Then a supervisor was sitting in the chair supervising the condition of the engine. Selim further said, ‘In my 14 years of working life, I have never seen such sparks from the engine. The fire is starting from there. There have been explosions before. This situation has happened due to running hard. ‘

The washing coil comes out with a loud noise

On the ground floor of the launch near the engine was called Barguna Bamnar. Dulal (40). His father Kanchan Ali is undergoing treatment at Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. Dulal told that he used to go to bed with his wife Hawa Begum, mother Minara Begum, one-year-old child Raihan and seven-year-old son Rabbi. His father and eldest son Rimon (15) were on the second floor. On his way to the toilet at night, he saw a spark of fire coming out of the engine room. Once a coil of smoke came out with a loud noise. Then he saw the fire. She hurried to the front of the launch with her mother and baby. The wife could no longer find the baby. When the fire started, the people of the launch closed the gate. Because of this, more people have died inside and above.

Engine room according to the supervisor 

Launch Supervisor Anwar Hossain told reporters yesterday that he was in a toilet at the back of the ground floor at the time of the fire. At that time the light went off. Want to get out early, find out why the lights are off? Then he went to start one of the three generators and saw a fire in the engine room. At that time driver, Kalam and Griezermann Sumon ran and said ‘Where is the bottle, where is the bottle (fire extinguisher)’. At that moment, the fire spread to the second floor.

Visiting the site of the damaged launch at Jhalokati wharf yesterday, it was found that two gas cylinders were missing inside the engine. There was oil in the drum. Two drums were found lying. According to eyewitnesses, multiple explosions were heard below. Fire service personnel believe that part of the engine has exploded. Barisal Division Chief Deputy Director Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan said, ‘We did not see any signs of gas cylinder explosion there. The fire is from the engine or something else around. ‘

The fire started from the engine room

The members of the investigation committee spoke to eyewitnesses at the scene and in Barguna yesterday. They are very sure that the fire started from the engine room.

Baharul Amin, executive engineer (shipping) of Barisal BIWTA, said the launch did not have adequate fire extinguishers. The engine room of the launch is very dilapidated. Fire extinguishers should have been used immediately after seeing the spark of fire in the engine room.

Lieutenant Colonel Zillur Rahman, Director (Operations) of the Fire Service and Civil Defense, who visited the spot, said that if the launch had been brought ashore quickly after the fire, not so many people would have died. The launch driver did not do that. They left the launch in the middle of the river and left. As a result, people jumped into the river and were burnt in the fire.   

Tofail Hossain, chief joint secretary of the inquiry committee, said: “We initially believe that the fire started in the engine room. It is also being investigated whether the launch master is trained or not. It will also be seen whether there was any technical defect in the launch.

Collection of DNA samples today

DNA test samples will be collected from the relatives on Monday to identify the 23 people buried as unknown. Barguna Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman said all those whose relatives were missing would be sent to Dhaka for testing after taking DNA samples.