14 killed as truck rams vehicles

14 killed as truck rams vehicles

At least 14 people, including four children, were killed and 11 others were injured when a truck ploughed through several vehicles at the Gabkhan Bridge toll booth area under Sadar upazila in Jhalakathi on Wednesday.

Among the victims, six were from the same family, and two—a mother and daughter—were from another family.

The victims were in a car and three battery-run auto-rickshaws that were hit by the truck.

The truck driver and his assistant were arrested while the authorities formed a probe committee on the matter.

The incident happened just a day after 14 people, including four of a family, were killed and four others injured when a bus and a pickup van collided head-on in Faridpur on Tuesday.

The deceased in Wednesday’s incident are Nahida Akhtar, 27, daughter of Barek Howladar of Sangar village of Rajapur upazila, her husband Hasibur Rahman, 32, her two children Takia, 4 and half years and Tahmid, eight months, her newly married sister Nipa, 22 and Nipa’s husband, Bangladesh Air Force member Imran Hossain, 26, Tahmina, 25, wife of Ibrahim of Talgachiya in Kanthalia and her daughter Nurjahan, 7, Nazrul, 35, son of Salim Hawladar of Gabkhan, Shafiqul Majhi, 50, son of Mannan Majhi of Ostakhan village, Atiqur Rahman Sadi, 11, son of Abdul Hakim of Naopara, Shekerhat, Jhalakati, Sonia Begum, 30, wife of Hasibur Rahman, Ruhul Amin of Swarupkathi and Shahidul Islam, 45, a beggar in front of the toll plaza.

Confirming the names, Jhalakati police station officer-in-charge Md Shahidul Islam said that they were now working to hand over the bodies to the families.

The accident took place at about 2:00pm when the speeding cement-laden truck ploughed through a car and three auto-rickshaws among other vehicles, Jhalakati superintendent of police Mohammad Afruzul Haque Tutul said.

The car and the auto-rickshaws were going to Barishal to attend a wedding ceremony and were waiting to pay the toll at the Gabkhan toll plaza, he said.

Following the crash, six passengers of an auto-rickshaw died on the spot, and eight more passengers of the car and other auto-rickshaws died on their way to Jhalakati Sadar Hospital and Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, he said.

Jhalakati fire service station officer Md Shafiqul Islam said that six people from the same family were in the car.

Farah Gul Nijhum, Jhalakati district’s deputy commissioner, confirmed that 11 were injured in the accident, while eight were admitted to the Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital and three to the Jhalakati Sadar Hospital.

With the help of locals, police and fire service personnel recovered the bodies of the injured and sent them to hospitals.

Witnesses said that the truck bearing the number place of Khulna Metro-T 11-957 was speeding towards the toll booth from the west side of the bridge.

Abul Bashar, a Gabkhan toll booth worker and one of the eyewitnesses, said that the truck coming from the west side suddenly hit the car and three battery-powered autos waiting at the toll plaza to pay.

‘I did not understand what happened at that moment,’ he said, adding, ‘after the incident, we only saw blood and tears everywhere.’

The police seized the truck while the driver and his assistant ran away immediately.

Jhalakati Detective Branch Police officer-in-charge, Md Moniruzzaman, said that with the help of locals, the duo was arrested three hours after the incident in Basanda village, three kilometres away from the accident spot.

The driver, Al-Amin, 29, is from Jhalakati Sadar upazila, and the assistant, Nazmul, 22, is from Khulna.

He also said that the driver had a driving licence, but they were checking if it was valid.

Jhalakati deputy commissioner Farah Gul Nijhum said that a four-member committee had been formed and was asked to submit a report within three working days.

The police stopped all traffic on the road for about an hour after the incident.