8 dead, 25 missing in AP boat tragedy

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Andhra Pradesh
** East Godavari: Surviours of a boat which capsized in the swollen Godavari river in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15, 2019. The river has been in spate for the past few days and over 5.13 lakh cusecs of floodwater was flowing when the mishap occurred.

Devipatnam: A private boat carrying around 60 tourists capsized in swollen Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, leaving at least eight people dead and 25 others missing on Sunday, the State government said.A private boat carrying around 60 tourists capsized in swollen Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, leaving at least eight people dead and 25 others missing on Sunday, the State government said.

As many as 27 people survived the tragedy and were brought to safety, the State Diasaster Management Authority (SDMA) said in a release late on Sunday night.

The boat ‘Royal Vasishta’ was on its way to the picturesque Papikondalu tourist spot in the middle of the river when it met with the accident, apparently on colliding with a large rock formation, at Kachchuluru in East Godavari District, about 200 km from here.

Quoting initial reports, police earlier said 12 bodies had been retrieved, but the SDMA later put the toll at eight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy among others expressed grief over the tragedy.

A team of deep divers from the Indian Navy reached the accident spot at Kachhuluru and joined the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force personnel in the search for the missing passengers.

The river has been in spate for the past few days and over 5.13 lakh cusecs of floodwater was flowing on Sunday when the mishap occurred.

Most of the tourists were from Hyderabad and Warrangal in neighbouring Telangana.
Though the number of deceased from Telangana was yet to be confirmed, at least 14 people from Warangal district and Hyderabad are missing in the incident, officials said in the State capital.

Though the boat has licence, it was not yet clear whether it had the required permission to ferry tourists since all boat operations in the river have been prohibited because of the flood.

A helicopter of the ONGC has been pressed into service for the rescue operation while a specialist deep divers team from Uttarakhand with side-scan sonar equipment would reach the accident spot on Monday, the SDMA said.

Of the 27 rescued, 16 were administered first-aid at the area hospital in Rampachodavaram and then shifted to the government general hospital in Rajahmundry for further treatment and trauma counselling, the authority said.

Bodies of the deceased have been shifted to Rajahmundry for post-mortem. There were similar accidents at the same spot some years ago in which several people were killed.

Two drivers of the boat, S Nukaraju and Kamaraju, were among those killed on Sunday.

A boat coming in the opposite direction saved the day for many people in Royal Vasishta, as they jumped into the river and got on to the other boat and saved themselves.

Villagers of Tutugunta in the vicinity also came to the rescue of the boat capsize victims and saved at least five tourists from Warangal.

Among the missing were four persons from a family in Visakhapatnam, according to police sources.


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