Background The Padma is one of the largest rivers where thousands of people cross this river every day using boats, launches and ferries. However, the numbers of launce and ferry are insufficient than required. In maximum cases the launches are overloaded with passengers. The authorities do not strictly maintain the rules. A tragic disaster occurred on 22 February 2015 when a cargo vessel hit the launch in the Padma near Paturia launch terminal of Manikganj in Bangladesh and at least 79 people, including 14 children and 28 women, died and over 50 went missing with over 200 passengers on board. The study expresses the practice of rescue process and emergency management services provided in the event.
Methods Qualitative methods including in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion was used to collect data. The daily newspaper reports and related documents were reviewed.
Results On 11:40 am the launch sank in mid-river within 15 minutes after it left the terminal and collided with a cargo vessel. The launch was carrying 200 passengers though its capacity was 140. Around 100 passengers were either rescued or swam around half kilometre to reach the shore. The local people started rescuing passengers immediately after the accident with the help of boats and trawlers from both side. Around 150 members of different government rescue agencies participated in the rescue operation from 12:00 noon to mid night. A rescue vessel reached the spot from Mawa terminal around 11.00 pm after 12 hours to salvage the sunken vessel. After 24 hours of rescue operation 70 bodies were handed over to the family members.
Conclusion The emergency management was inadequate and the authorities in the launches were irresponsible to take appropriate measures to rescue the passengers from drowning. Mass public awareness is essential to follow the rules for safe crossing the river. A national level policy is required for mass rescuing of people during water related disaster.
- emergency management
- rescue and Padma river
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