"Baba save us! Baba save us! We are going to be burnt. Fire is all around us. We are going to die. Save us, Baba!", it kept ringing in Sumon's ears, the last words of his dying daughter, who was screaming in agony over his cellphone.
Sumon lost his wife Taslima Begum (35) and two daughters – Sumaya After Mim (15) and Sumona Akter Tanisha (12) – in the fire incident in the Barguna-bound launch in the early hours of Friday.
Crying for help, Sumon's wife Taslima Begum told her husband, "Please come save us. We are at the rooftop of the launch. Fire has engulfed the entire launch. We came up to save us from the fire."
With tears in his eyes, Sumon said, "I listened to my young daughter crying and there was nothing I could do. She was requesting me to save them. She said, Baba, I want to meet you. Come here quickly and take me to you. I was frightened and helpless. Please Baba come. I want to stay with you – that's all I can think of."
Sumon got the call when the fire started to break out in the launch.
"I told my wife to stay on the call but within minutes the call dropped and later I found the phone switched off," added Sumon.
"I felt helpless and did not know what to do. I felt weak. But the next moment, I called my brother and called him to Jhalokathi around 3 am," he said.
Sumon made it to Jhalakathi on a motorbike around 5.30 am when the launch was still burning.
With the help of locals, he managed to go near the launch on a trawler to rescue his family members but the efforts went in vain.
"I didn't find them anywhere," he cried.
"I looked for my family members around the river to see them for the last time and to bury them at my family graveyard," Sumon told this reporter on Saturday afternoon.
"Sumon's daughter Mim was the student of class ix while Sumona was in class v of Haji Nawab Ali school at Dhaka's Demra and his nephew Jonyed Islam Bayzid (7), who used to stay with their family, was the student of class one," said Sumon.
"I came to my village around twenty days ago to complete construction of my village house." Said Sumon, who is a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver in Dhaka, adding that he asked his family members to visit the village from Dhaka.
Sumon's wife Taslima and her daughters as well as Bayzid boarded the ill-fated launch on Thursday evening from Dhaka.
They were supposed to reach Barguna in the morning.
Sumon talked to his family over the phone a few times during their journey and all of them were excited, especially the daughters, who were more passionate to meet their father after many days.
"Sumona told me that she wanted to go around the whole village with me," said Sumon.
"But today I have been looking for my daughters on the river bank," he added.
He blamed the launch authority for the fire as he learnt from his wife Taslima that they did not do anything for at least one hour after the fire broke out.