HYDERABAD: What ended the life of the 22-year-old woman software engineer Bakhtawar Rana, causing a tragedy out of a weekend joyride in the Hussainsagar lake on Saturday evening, was nothing but a few minutes of carelessness.
While the speed boat in which the deceased and her three friends were travelling had smashed a mechanised ferry boat near the Buddha statue, investigation into the accident has revealed that the four friends had sat in the front row seat meant for only two, thus blocking the view for the tindal-cum-driver who sits at the back and navigates the speed boat.
Ramgopalpet police have taken into custody 32-year Gadela Sivakoti, the driver, in a case registered under Section 304-A for causing accident due to negligence.
The incident took place at around 8 pm on Saturday. According to the police, the four persons were in a joyous mood and sat together in the front. Rana was sitting in the right corner. While turning near Buddha statue, the driver’s view was blocked because of the four in the front and he dashed against the ferry which was coming in the opposite direction.
“It is the driver’s fault as he allowed them to sit together in the front causing the accident. The deceased hit her head against the ferry and sustained head injuries and died,” said Raghavender Swamy, investigating officer, Ramgopalpet police.
Postmortem was conducted at Gandhi Hospital and the body was handed over to the deceased’s brother Izazuddin Khan.
Wipro employee Bakhtawar Rana, a native of Dhanbad in Jharkhand, and colleague Shivangi are imates of Pravalika Hostel at Gachibowli. Their friends Anand Kumar and Ankit Tyagi came from Bengaluru on a weekend visit.
Telangana Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) authorities, when contacted, clarified that all the 19 drivers operating all the boats held the certificates issued by the Fisheries Training Institute of Government of Andhra Pradesh and competency certificate from the department of ports.
Asked whether speed boats, which are not fitted with navigation lights, should be allowed to ply in the night, officials maintained that those were the set global standards and visibility had never been an issue in the Hussainsagar lake.
“The speed boat travels at a maximum speed of 30 kmph and makes the trip in six minutes. Yesterday, these enthusiastic youngsters did not listen to the driver and the deceased, who was sitting in the corner, stood up to take a photo while the driver was not able to gauge the turn. Her head hit the fender of the mechanised boat,” explained K Upender, manager of Telangana Tourism’s water fleet unit at Lumbini Park, quoting the driver.
“Our drivers are technically sound and trained swimmers too. Passengers in a speedboat have to wear life jackets and are required to sit without making sudden moves. Children are not allowed,” added Upender.
The unit runs six mechanised ferry boats, two cruise boats, six speed boats, a seven- seater pantoon boat and a Jet Ski between 9 am and 8.30 pm everyday. While all the boats together make nearly 20 trips on weekdays, the rush is 40 per cent more on weekends. According to officials here, accidents have happened in the past but nothing has been fatal.
The water fleet operated as usual on Sunday.
The Water Fleet
■ Six speed boats, each with a capacity of four, carry tourists to Buddha statue and back. Rs 300 is charged per trip of 6 minutes.
■ There are also six mechanised boats each with a capacity of 50. Each tourist is charged Rs 55.
■ There are three cruisers but only two are operational now. A cruiser plies only one trip each a day and up to four on weekends.
■ With Rs 100 per head and a capacity of 100 persons, cruisers ply up to 11 pm.
■ Jet Ski pillion-riding is not a popular ride on the Hussainsagar. Each rider is charged Rs 250 for a 3-minute pillion-ride.