Boat capsizes in J&K; 17 killed

None | ByPress Trust of India, Srinagar
May 31, 2006 03:38 AM IST

Though 12 children and a teacher have been rescued, the number of persons missing could not be ascertained.

At least 16 schoolchildren and a teacher drowned on Tuesday when the boat carrying them on a joyride capsized in the Wullar lake in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police official said.

HT Image
HT Image

Navy divers have fished out 17 bodies so far and are scouring the waters for more bodies or possible survivors, Kashmir range Inspector General of Police SM Sahai said.

It is believed that the boat capsized due to weight imbalance created by the over-excitement of the kids.

As news of the mishap spread, anxious parents and relatives, who came all the way from Handwara to Watlab, turned violent and were joined by some locals in torching a tourism hut on the bank of the lake.

He said that the dead included a teacher who had accompanied the students of Burn Candle High School in the border town of Handwara in Kupwara district to an excursion to Asia's largest fresh water lake.

The children had requested a naval sailor to take them for a boat ride in the lake as they had never experienced it before, a defence spokesman said.

He said that the sailor took the children for a ride after seeking proper permission.

Sahai said that 12 students and a teacher had been rescued by Naval divers. However, the total number of missing persons could not be ascertained with precision, he said.

The defence spokesman said that the exact number of children aboard could not be ascertained as the teacher and rescued children were in a state of shock and could not speak.

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