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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Boat in Godavari tragedy that killed 27 found at depth of 200 feet

The intense search operations by the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) for the last two days did not yield any results until Tuesday morning, though the authorities managed to locate the overturned boat in the water using sensors.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2019 20:44 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
NDRF personnel carry out rescue operations after a tourist boat capsized in the swollen Godavari river in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
NDRF personnel carry out rescue operations after a tourist boat capsized in the swollen Godavari river in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.(Photo: PTI)
         

The death toll in Sunday’s boat tragedy in Andhra Pradesh’s Godavari river went up to 27 by Tuesday evening according to state tourism minister M Srinivasa Rao. The boat is yet to be retrieved from the water.

The search operations by the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) for the last two days did not yield any results until Tuesday morning, though the authorities managed to locate the boat in the water using sensors.

The capsized boat was located 48 hours later at a depth of around 200 feet in the river at Kachuluru village, where it sank on Sunday afternoon.

Of the 73 people on board, officials said, only 26 were saved. “In the first two days, only eight bodies were recovered,” the SP said.

According to the locals at Rajahmundry, four bodies were found floating on the water at Devipatnam village, a couple of bodies were seen floating at the coffer dam of Polavaram project and some others along the river course. The locals have said that one body was found stuck at the crest gate of Dowleshwaram project beyond Rajahmundry in the early hours of Tuesday.

“It is an extremely difficult task to bring the boat up, as the spot is very dangerous with two big whirlpools. We have to make serious efforts to retrieve it,” he said.

The official did not rule out the possibility of some tourists, mostly old people and infants, getting trapped in the air-conditioned compartment of the boat. However, most of the passengers were believed to be on the open compartment as they were enjoying cultural programmes, he said.

The boat, Royal Vashishta, belonging to a private tourist operator Kodigudla Venkata Ramana, was ferrying the passengers to picturesque Papi Kondalu, a famous tourist spot. It overturned in the swirling waters of Godavari river at around 1.29 pm on Sunday.

The fire teams from east and west Godavari Districts with eight infra-red boats, 12 Aska lights and 1 satellite phone have been engaged in search and rescue operations.

Deputy chief minister Pilli Subhash Bose said that a specialized deep diver’s team with “Side Scan Sonar” equipment from Uttarakhand State was pressed into service and it located the boat about 315 feet deep in the river. “We are engaging a specialized machinery to bring the boat out of waters by Tuesday morning,” Bose told reporters after a review meeting conducted by chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday.

Meanwhile, CM Reddy, who conducted an aerial survey of the accident spot on Monday morning, called on the survivors of the boat tragedy and extended all possible help to them to overcome the tragedy.

Reddy has also appointed a committee headed by special chief secretary, irrigation and comprising secretary (revenue), principal secretary (tourism), additional director general of police (law and order) and collector of East Godavari as members to look into all aspects of the boat mishap and take corrective measures to avoid recurrence of such mishaps.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 11:16 IST

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