At least nine people, including the son of Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif, have been killed in two accidents amid dense fog on the Bangabandhu Bridge, agencies report. The crashes on Saturday morning also left no fewer than 45 people, among whom were police and Fire Service personnel and journalists, injured, according to officials and police.
The accidents at both ends – east and west – of the 4.8-kilometre-long bridge involved 24 vehicles, including buses, trucks, microbuses and private cars, Bangladesh Bridge Authority Executive Engineer Abul Kalam Azad told bdnews24.com. Tangail Sadar Model Police Station OC Nazmul Haque Bhuiyan said the land minister’s son, Sherif Rana, 35, was rushed to Tangail Medical College and Hospital (TMCH) where doctors declared him dead.
The minister’s son-in-law Abul Kalam Azad Mintu told bdnews24.com that the family had received the news of Rana’s death. Rana was on his way to Dhaka from Pabna. His family members later received Rana’s body from the hospital and left for their village home, Sirajganj’s Superintendent of Police Miraj Uddin said.
Four journalists injured in the accidents were admitted to Sirajganj Sadar Hospital. They are Somoy TV’s Sirajganj Correspondent Rinku Kundu, Maasranga Television Sirajganj Correspondent Rifat Rahman, Channel i cameraperson Ashraf Ali and Channel 24 cameraperson Nazmul Islam.
The first accident, which right away turned into a pile-up, took place at around 7:30am between pillars No. 30 and 40 of the bridge, said Bridge Authority Engineer Abul Kalam Azad. He said a Dhaka-bound Sarkar Paribahan bus first hit a cattle-carrying truck from behind at the eastern end of the bridge. “Two more buses and a microbus then banged into one another as the first bus rammed into the Sarkar Paribahan bus.”
The pile-up left four people dead and at least 20 others injured, causing a long tailback of vehicles on that lane of the bridge. Police and locals rushed the wounded to Sirajganj Sadar Hospital and TMCH. The law enforcers were also trying to move the damaged vehicles from the lane to free the flow of traffic.
The next accident happened around 9:30pm, involving vehicles coming from the western end. “As many as 16 vehicles, including buses, cars and ambulances rammed into one another between pillars No. 30 and 32,” said the Bridge Authority’s Assistant Engineer Wasim Ali.
Four persons, including the land minister’s son Rana, were injured in the second accident. He died while being taken to the hospital. The mishap left at least 25 others injured. Police said the second accident, which happened amid rescue efforts for the earlier one, left five fire service personnel and four reporters covering the incident injured.
Traffic resumed on the bridge, which connects northern Bangladesh to the rest of the country, around 1am after the damaged vehicles were removed.