AMARAVATI: At least eight people drowned and 25 others were missing after a private boat carrying around 60 tourists capsized in the swollen Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Sunday.
As many as 27 people survived the tragedy and were brought to safety, the State Diasaster Management Authority (SDMA) said in a release late tonight.
Quoting initial reports, police earlier said 12 bodies had been retrieved, but the SDMA later put the toll at eight.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed anguish over the tragedy.
“Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the Prime Minister wrote on Twitter.
Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved fa… https://t.co/6Fcj70y3TH
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1568549184000
Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the mishap and announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
Sources said that Jagan is scheduled to visit the place on Monday.
Jagan directed the East Godavari district collector Muralidhar Reddy to conduct a probe whether the boat had permission to ferry passengers.
He also directed that all boat operations be suspended forthwith, a release from the CMO said.
The chief minister has taken the issue very seriously. He asked the officials to prepare a report with the help of experts on boat operations and frame clear guidelines, it added.
The boat, belonging to a private operator, 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, they said.
A special helicopter has been pressed into service from Rajamahendravaram for the rescue operation.
Two drivers of the boat named “Royal Vasishta” were among those killed.
Though the boat had license, 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.
River Godavari 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.
The chief minister directed the East Godavari district collector Muralidhar Reddy to conduct a probe into the tragedy.
Most of the tourists in the boat were from Hyderabad and Warangal in neighbouring Telangana. Among the missing were four persons from a family in Visakhapatnam, according to police sources.
Five of the tourists from Warangal were among the 17 passengers saved by villagers of Tutugunta, police said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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