21 dead after tourist boat capsizes into river Krishna near Vijayawada; search for two more continues

The National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force teams are still continuing search operations to find two more people, including a 7-year-old Popuri Ashwika who went missing.

Published: 12th November 2017 06:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2017 12:44 AM   |  A+A-

Sources said that the boat, run by Simple Water Sports, was ferrying 35-40 passengers, much more than its capacity of 20. (Express Photo | P Ravindra Babu)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The death toll in the boat capsize incident, which occurred on Sunday evening at the Pavithra Sangamam ghat near Ibrahimpatnam in river Krishna, has climbed to 21 after one woman died during treatment at the hospital following the recovery of four more bodies on Monday morning. [SEE PICTURES]

The National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force teams are still continuing search operations to find two more people, including a 7-year-old Popuri Ashwika who went missing after the boat overturned near the Pavithra Sangamam ghat on Sunday evening.

Of the four bodies recovered, identities of three have been confirmed as Katari Sudhakara Rao, Popuri Haritha, and Kosuri Rohit Roy.

In a double tragedy for a family from Ongole, a 75-year-old woman died upon seeing the body of her daughter early on Monday. D Leelavathi (45), who went to Pavithra Sangamam along with the Walkers Club members from Ongole, drowned after the boat capsized in the river. Her body was retrieved and sent to their residence at Vangamuru Road in Ongole in the wee hours.

Her mother, D Lakshmikantham, died of shock within an hour. Leelavathi had been living with her mother ever since her husband died several years ago.

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Police have shifted the bodies to the New Government General Hospital for postmortem.

Meanwhile, Krishna District Collector B Lakshmikantham said criminal cases were registered against the River Boating Company for illegal operation of the tourist boat that capsized in the river.

"Despite warnings by the APTDC not to operate boats without permission, the River Boating Company staff went ahead with impunity. We are going to take severe action against those responsible for the death of 20 innocent people. While the boat's capacity is 20, they modified it to accommodate 30, and could not provide life jackets to the passengers. Only one was given life jacket,” he said.

Also, three boat staff - driver Suribabu, assistant driver Byrava Swami and helper Ramarao, reportedly went missing after the incident. They are said to have survived the accident and reportedly escaped to Kakinada.

The police formed special teams to nab the accused. A criminal case was registered against the River Boating and Adventures Partners' senior management members Sesham Modhakondala Rao, Neelam Seshagirirao, Gedela Srinu, Vinjamuri Vijayasarathi, and Chitti at the Ibrahimpatnam police station for running the boat without permission, and not following safety norms.

Relatives of the deceased and the missing. (Express Photo | P Ravindra Babu)

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who returned from Kerala, conducted an aerial survey and later made a statement in the Legislative Assembly.

He said the death toll had risen to 20 and that search operation was going to find the missing.

"Four survivors are being treated at a hospital. Nearly 45 were onboard the ill-fated boat. Of them, three were crew members. 20 dead bodies have been recovered. 17 have gone home after treatment. Four are under treatment. Two are still missing," he informed the House.

A tourist boat packed with 35-40 passengers capsized into river Krishna at the Pavithra Sangamam ghat near Vijayawada on Sunday evening. Till late last night, 16 bodies were fished out. Sources told New Indian Express that 15 people had been recovered while 10 others were still feared missing till yesterday night.
 
The boat overturned while it was returning from the Bhavani Island to the Pavithra Sangamam, where the Godavari meets the Krishna.

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