A dolphin-sighting trip turned into tragedy when a boat carrying tourists capsized, drowning four people, in the Arabian Sea off Dapoli coast, 180 km south of Mumbai, in Ratnagiri today, police said.
Three Mumbaikars and a Pune resident are said to have drowned. The private boat carrying 12 tourists, nine of them from Mumbai and three from Pune, suddenly capsized due to huge waves near the Murud-Janjira sea forts stretch off Dapoli coast, Police Station in-charge S.M. Mali said.
"With the help of fishermen and local villagers, we managed to rescue eight people. A search is on for the bodies," Mali told IANS.
The victims from Mumbai have been identified as Arun G. Datar, 60, a resident of Vile Parle, Jyoti P. Kulkarni, 65, and Shaila S. Deshmukh, 65, both of Andheri. Another victim Anuradha M. Phadnis, 40, hailed from Pune.
Mali said three rescued people, who have been admitted to the Dapoli civil hospital, were in serious condition. The reason for the boat capsize is not known, he said.
The Konkan coast is popular among domestic and foreign tourists who flock there round the year to watch scores of dolphins frolicking in the sea waters. The coast near Dapoli and upto Kelshi is also popular during February-April as hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles descend on the shores to lay eggs.
People from all over India and other countries converge here to watch the turtle hatchlings go to the sea and also to take part in the annual turtle festival organised here by environmentalists. Tourists also come here to take a boat and view Chhatrapati Shivaji's famous Janjira sea fort off Murud coast.