Bihar: At least 26 people are feared dead in two separate boat capsize incidents
Thousands of people gathered at the Ekania Diyara ghat that falls under the jurisdiction of Mansi police station in the Khagaria district, where the boat was headed.Updated: Aug 05, 2020 15:31 IST
At least 26 people are feared dead in two separate boat capsize incidents in the swollen Gandak and Kosi rivers in Bihar’s Khagaria and Saharsa districts, respectively, late on Tuesday evening.
So far, 10 bodies have been recovered after State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel and local divers have been pressed into service for search-and-rescue operations.
Thousands of people gathered at the Ekania Diyara ghat that falls under the jurisdiction of Mansi police station in the Khagaria district, where the boat was headed.
Khagaria District Magistrate (DM) Alok Ranjan Ghosh, Superintendent of Police (SP), Khagaria, Meenu Kumari, who reached the ghat, had to face local villagers’ ire over an alleged delay in launching the rescue operations.
Police said that the incident took place, when a boat carrying 25 people, mostly from Dinatola, Tikarampur, Mathar Diyara, and Jalim Tola, were headed to Ekania Diara.
The boatmen braved the inclement weather and decided to proceed towards the destination, but the vessel capsized after it was caught in a severe storm.
Five persons, including the boatmen, swam to safety and alerted officials about the accident, after which SDRF personnel was pressed into the service.
So far, eight bodies, including four women and three minors, have been recovered from the swollen Gandak river.
Most of the victims belonged to Sonbarsha village.
DM Ghosh said, according to the preliminary report, 25 people were on board and five have survived.
He said that rescue operations are in progress.
In another similar incident in Saharsa district’s Salkhua block, a boat, carrying 14 people, capsized near Sahuri village near eastern Kosi embankment. Four persons are still missing and the bodies of two have been recovered on Wednesday. The rest swam to safety.
The incident occurred, when the villagers from Bagulwatol were returning from Chiraiya after collecting wheat and rice from a state-run public distribution shop.
Four persons, including Sanjit Choudhary (22), Rajni Devi (20), Sobha Kumari (12) and a two-month-old baby, are still missing.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has consoled the families of the victims and directed Khagaria and Saharsa DMs and SPs to engage experienced divers in the search-and-rescue operations.