Rescue workers yesterday fished out 12 bodies after a boat capsize in the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh claimed 22 lives late Tuesday. A search was on for the missing.
Rescue workers pulled out the boat using heavy cranes. Earlier, Indian Navy personnel traced the boat reportedly at a depth of 60 feet.
Teams from the Navy, state disaster management department and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were engaged in the rescue operations with the help of Navy helicopters.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who rushed to the scene to supervise rescue operations, told reporters that 10 more bodies were yet to be pulled out.
He said a total of 44 people were on the boat and half of them swam to safety.
The incident occurred near Manturu in Devipatnam block of East Godavari district around 5pm.
The boat, which sailed from Kondamodalu, was on its way to Rajamahendravaram. It is believed to have capsized due to gusty winds.
Naidu announced a Rs1mn compensation each for the next of kin of the dead. He said the government would provide jobs to one member each from the families of the victims and would also make arrangements for free education for their children.
The chief minister said human error had led to tragedy. He was informed by officials that the boat was carrying cement bags and two-wheelers.
After the boat was caught in gusty winds and rains, those onboard shut the windows which led to its capsizing and also shut escape routes.
Hundreds of wailing relatives of the victims thronged the river shores near the accident site. Authorities handed over the bodies after autopsy under a tent near the river bank.
YSR Congress Party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan expressed their shock at the tragedy. They alleged that such incidents were recurring due to government’s negligence.
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