Vol. 5 Num 825 Thu. September 21, 2006  
Front Page

25 killed as storm lashes coastal belt
500 trawlers sink in Bay; 2,000 fishermen missing; the dead include naval officer

At least 25 people, including a naval officer, were killed while some 2,000 fishermen went missing as around 500 trawlers, boats and a navy patrol ship capsized in the Bay when a violent storm hit the country's coastal belt Tuesday evening.

According to the officials, the fishing trawlers sank in Dublar Char, Kachikhali, Narkelbaria and Baleshwar of the coastal districts of Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola as they were caught in the sudden storm.

Of the dead, the body of a youth was found at Bishkhali of Laldia area in Patharghata, bodies of four fishermen were recovered at the Kuakata beach in Patuakhali, five in Khulna and 15 in Bagerhat.

Our correspondents from different districts and news agency UNB report that hundreds of people thronged the beach and coastal zones yesterday in search of their relatives after the storm ravaged the coastal area. Some 1,500 fishermen were rescued in the southern shores by the coast guards and the navy yesterday.

Some 25 fishermen were also rescued in the Chittagong coast and 39 Navy staff at Mongla.

The disaster occurred as a sudden storm under the influence of a depression lashed at the coastal belt from 7:30pm till 9:00pm at a speed of 100 to 130 kilometres per hour and generated waves as high as 40 feet.

Meanwhile, the normal life in the capital was also hampered due to the continuous drizzle. A fewer number of people were seen in the streets while commuters suffered as the rickshaw-pullers and drivers of CNG three-wheelers and cabs hiked up the fares.

A special met office bulletin said the well marked low in the Bay is likely to intensify further and move in a north-westerly direction. All fishing boats and trawlers over the North Bay have been advised to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution till further notice.

Our Cox's Bazar correspondent reports: About 600 fishermen with 50 fishing boats from Cox's Bazar remained missing for two days as the sea turned rough due to a depression in the Bay.

Mojibur Rahman, president of Fishing Boats Owners' Association of Cox's Bazar, told The Daily Star that the missing boats went out to the sea on Tuesday. "We are anxious for their safe return," he added.

Abdul Hamid, owner of one of the lost trawlers, said only four of the 11 men on his boat had made it back home yesterday.

A rescue official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was hopeful that many of the missing were rescued by other boats or managed to survive by swimming to the small islands that dot the coast.

Mizanur Rahman managed to swim ashore at Cox's Bazar beach yesterday after his boat sank. "Our boat was being tossed by high waves and it suddenly went down," Mizan told the Associated Press from his hospital bed. "Only four of us managed to swim ashore.


Meanwhile, Water Development Board sources said about two kilometres of flood control embankment in Maheshkhali Island was washed away by unusual high tides in the last two days.

Our Khulna correspondent reports: A naval officer was killed when a patrol boat of the Bangladesh Navy ran aground at Akram Point in the Bay of Bengal due to Tuesday's violent storm in the southern bay.

The body of Lt Commander Feroz Kabir, one of the captains of the BN Shahid Farid, was recovered yesterday noon from the spot by the naval rescue forces. Thirty-nine other crews of the ship were also rescued during the operation aided by a Bangladesh Army helicopter.

According to Bagerhat district administration sources, the vessel was carried away by strong gales and fierce currents when the sudden storm hit the coastal belts of the Sundarbans.

Over 500 fishermen still remained missing as the storm left at least 200 fishing trawlers capsized in the Bay of Bengal along the Sundarbans. Search is on to rescue the ill-fated.

Hundreds of people of the coastal belt, left homeless due to the storm, have taken refuge at the Dublarchar cyclone shelter.

Our Chittagong office reports: Twenty-five fishermen narrowly escaped death in the deep sea on Tuesday evening when a private fishing vessel rescued them after their boat sank due to the storm, some 200 kilometres off Chittagong city.

The rescued feared death of many fishermen as nearly 36 engine boats were in the rough sea at that time.

Captain Abu Taher of Hart Ford-2, which rescued the survivors, however said they did not get any warning from the met office although the sea was rough.

According to the boat owners' association of the district, the boat carrying the fishermen from Chakoria and Banshkhali capsized in the Bay during the violent storm.

Our Patuakhali correspondent reports: Bodies of five fishermen were recovered in Kuakata coast areas yesterday while at least 1,000 fishermen aboard over 100 fishing trawlers remained missing in the Bay in the last two days. Abdus Salam, president of trawler owners association of Mohipur, confirmed the news.

The Patuakhali district administration, however, in a fax message sent to the higher authorities mentioned that 470 fishermen with 37 trawlers were missing in the Bay.

The 25 fishermen who were rescued by a vessel after their boat capsized 200 kilometres into the Bay of Bengal Tuesday evening. PHOTO: STAR