Death from hypothermia in the Mediterranean: Body of youth returned to family

The body of a youth, one of the seven Bangladeshis who died from hypothermia on a boat carrying migrants while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to enter Europe illegally, arrived home today.

The deceased was identified as Joy Talukder of Peyarpur union Madaripur Sadar upazila.
Joy’s brother Nirob Talukder received the body, which arrived on a Turkish Airlines flight, at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital.

Joy, his uncle Mithu Talukder and cousin Pradip Talukder were among 273 Bangladeshis on board the boat. There were 14 other Egyptians on the boat. All of them were trying to enter Europe illegally through Italy by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Due to extreme cold, seven Bangladeshi youths died from hypothermia, while the rest were rescued by Italian coastguards some 18 miles off the coast of Lampione, an uninhabited island near Lampedusa, on January 25, Reuters reported.

Families of Joy, Mithu and Pradip had to pay Tk 9 lakh each to middlemen in Madaripur for the migration bid to Europe. They arranged the money by taking loans and selling lands.

Joy’s family already paid Tk 7 lakh and agreed to pay another Tk 2 lakh after a successful migration, said his brother Nirob.

Joy was among the seven Bangladeshi migrants who died in the tragedy, said Fakhrul Alam, assistant director at Expatriates’ Welfare Desk set up by the expatriates’ welfare ministry at the Dhaka airport.

Nirob said the family learnt about Joy’s demise from Pradip, adding that the tragedy has shattered his family.

Nirob also said he last talked to his brother on Imo on January 22 when Joy informed him about their boat journey ahead.

A photocopy of Joy’s passport showed his birthday to be on January 1, 2001. However, Nirob said his brother was 17 years old.

Pradip’s father Gobinda Talukder said the trio started their journey from home on December 28 last year and reached Libya via transit in Dubai a couple of days later where they waited for the boat journey for nearly a month.

Fakhrul Alam said they provided an ambulance and Tk 35,000 for carrying the body and for the funeral.

Earlier yesterday, the body of Imran Hawlader, another migrant from Madaripur who also died in the same incident, arrived home.