10 drown in Gaya boat mishap as Dussehra trip turns into tragedy | india-news | Hindustan Times
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10 drown in Gaya boat mishap as Dussehra trip turns into tragedy

At least 10 people including six minor girls of a family were feared dead and six others reported missing when a boat ferrying them capsized in the Falgu river on Tuesday.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2016 15:36 IST
Gaya
Photo shows Hindu devotees cross Falgu river to perform Pind Daan rituals during Pitra Paksha in Bodhgaya, Gaya. (PTI/Representative image)

At least 10 people including six minor girls of a family were feared dead and six others reported missing when a boat ferrying them capsized in the Falgu river on Tuesday.

Seven bodies had been fished out till Wednesday morning, as the administration pressed the state disaster response force (SDRF) in the rescue operation.

Gaya district magistrate, Kumar Ravi, however, confirmed only seven deaths, but said the number could go up by the time the rescue operation is concluded.

Five of those killed were identified as Runa Kumari (15), Puja Kumari (15), Bharati Kumari (15) — all students of class 10 at the Sripur Kanya High School, Belaganj — Chirai (12) of class nine and Kajal (11) of class six. Two other bodies were yet to be identified, the police said.

Over 50 people were on the ill-fated boat when it toppled near Panari village under the Khijarsarai police station, about 35 kms from Gaya. The victims, mostly from Belaganj block, were going to Khijarsarai to witness Dussehra festivities.

As the boat reached midstream, the boatman reportedly lost control and the vessel started drifting in strong current of the flooded Falgu. The overloaded boat overturned when panicky passengers began moving from one corner to another.

Divers were able to fish out only two bodies after a couple of hours of the mishap at around 3pm on Tuesday. The operation, however, had to be suspended after sunset. On Wednesday morning, SDRF personnel were able to recover five more bodies.

The villagers were critical of what they termed ‘lax rescue effort’ by the authorities. Villagers of Sultanpur and Panari Ghat raised anti-administration slogans.

“Had the local police and the administration initiated prompt rescue operation, all lives of children could have been saved. I lost six of my family members, including four young school girls,” said Shiv Kumar, a villager.

The district administration has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased.