Around 12 hours after a launch capsized in the Buriganga river on Monday, authorities started to rescue the vessel when a man swam out alive, raising more questions than could be answered.
Sumon Bepari, a fruit vendor by profession, was taken to Mitford Hospital right after his rescue. At the hospital, he talked to media personnel describing his rescue.
“It feels I was there [under the water] for about 10 minutes,” he says.
“I was near the machine room [of the launch]. I remember hearing a big bump and saw the vessel sinking,” Sumon further recounted the ordeal to The Daily Star.
He says he held on to a rod attached to the launch and kept holding on to it the entire time.
When asked how he spent so long and what he did during this period, Sumon said, “I managed to drink water once and also urinated.
“There was a body next to me, I moved it away.”
But he could not describe his surroundings or where he was stuck during this time. The man said he prayed and asked for help.
Sumon’s nephew Abul Hossain said his uncle returned to Bangladesh eight years back after spending eight years in Jordan. Originally from Munshiganj’s Tongibari, the man now sells fruits on launches.
“He was coming to Dhaka from his village home that day,” Abul said.
Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Debashish Bardhan said when he was taken into the ambulance for Mitford, he was conscious and even looked around at all those present in the vehicle.
“He was suffering from breathing complexities,” said Bardhan.
Brig Gen Quazi Md Rashid-Un-Nabi, Director, Mitford Hospital, said Sumon’s condition is now stable. “He needed oxygen support as he had breathing complexities initially,” he said.
If everything goes well, he will be released today, he added.
Prof Dr Mujibur Rahman, the head of the Department of Medicine at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), said it is scientifically not possible for a person to live 12 hours in 55-feet deep water.
“It’s only possible for fish and aquatic animals to live in this deep water,” he added.