Police have arrested one of the owners of a ferry, after at least 39 passengers aboard the vessel were killed in a massive fire in southern Bangladesh last week.
Ham Jalal, one of the four owners of the ferry, was picked up in the Keraniganj suburb of Dhaka on Monday following an arrest warrant issued by a court, said police official Khandaker Al Moin.
The court on Sunday issued the warrant after Bangladesh’s shipping directorate filed a case against eight people, including the four owners and captains of the ferry, accusing them of flouting safety regulations that led to the blaze and casualties.
The rest of the accused are still on the run, Moin said.
If found guilty, the accused may face a five-year prison term and fine of 500,000 takas (5,800 dollars), according to the law.
The fire broke out on the MV Obhijan-10, which was carrying nearly 800 people, on Friday as it traveled along the Sugandha river in Jhalakathi district, nearly 150 kilometers south-west of Dhaka.
Many passengers jumped into the river from the blazing vessel. At least 39 people were confirmed dead and nearly 100 others were admitted to hospitals with burn injuries, according to official counts.
Rescue workers are still searching the river for 29 passengers who are still missing since the accident, said Zohar Ali, chief of the district administration.
Officials say the ferry was carrying nearly double its permitted capacity.
Deaths in ferry accidents are frequent in Bangladesh, a country of many rivers, due to the lax implementation of regulations.
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