At least 11 people, aged between 11 and 24, were killed and six others injured in a collision between a train and a tourist microbus at a level crossing in Mirsharai Apiza in Chittagong district, police said.
Eyewitnesses told IANS that some of the victims lifted barriers to cross the railway tracks as the gateman left it unmanned to offer ‘Friday prayers’.
Superintendent of Police Hasan Chaudhary of the Chittagong Railway Police said: “We are still not sure whether the gateman was present at the time of the accident. We are investigating the matter.”
Bangladesh Railway authorities have started an investigation into the accident and formed two committees to investigate the matter.
Divisional Transport Officer, East Zone of Bangladesh Railway Ansar Ali is heading the five-member committee while a four-member panel has been constituted along with Additional Chief Engineer Arman Hussain.
Chief of Chittagong Railway Police Nazimuddin said that two persons were working as gatemen on a temporary basis at the level crossing. One of them, Saddam Hussain, was on duty at the time of the accident, so police have detained him for questioning.
After visiting the accident site, Bangladesh Railways Eastern Zone General Manager Jahangir Alam said: “I spoke to the gateman and he claimed that he was there at the time of the accident.”
Citing Saddam, the gateman, railway officials said he had lowered the barricade at the level crossing but the microbus broke it.
A Dhaka-Chittagram-bound ‘Mahangar Parvathi’ train rammed into a tourist microbus at the Khoyachora level crossing on the outskirts of Chittagong and pushed it for about one kilometer near Bara Takia station around 1.30 pm on Friday, killing 11. People were killed.
A doctor told IANS on Friday evening that six people are under treatment and their condition is reportedly critical.
Meanwhile, after completing her secondary school certificate examination, one of the victims, Musba Ahmed Hisham, was due to board a flight to Canada to meet her mother, who lives there with her daughter.
However, all procedures were designed so that Hisham could easily migrate to Canada. But in a twist of fate, he would never see his mother as she died along with 10 others in a train microbus accident in Mirsarai district on Friday afternoon.
Hisham was a student of KS Nazo Miya High School in Hathahzari district. He was the youngest brother among four siblings in his family. He lived at his uncle’s house in Hathazari and was a student of R&J Coaching Center in Jogirhat area of Amanbazar.
The tourist microbus was carrying 18 passengers – teachers and students of a private coaching center – from Aman Bazar in Hathahazari district to Khoyachora Falls.
Most of the victims were between 18 and 25 years of age.
A doctor quoted Gateman Saddam as saying that there are boom barriers on both sides of the level crossing, and they were lowered before the accident.
Jahangir said that after the train from Chittagram crossed the road, the passengers of the microbus removed the barrier. A train coming from Dhaka collided with the vehicle at that time.
A shop keeper near the crossing, Mufazalul Haque, said the gateman left the crossing to offer prayers after lowering the boom barriers.
Read all Latest news And Latest news Here