GUWAHATI: At least three died and 20 others were reported missing after a machine boat sank in the Brahmaputra river on Wednesday.
According to survivors, the mishap occurred at around 1:30 pm when the boat hit a concrete structure of an ongoing water project. Over 30 people, including students, were on board the boat which was sailing from Guwahati to North Guwahati.
“Three persons are confirmed dead. We have retrieved their bodies. There are reports that another body is lying somewhere. We are heading to the site,” Kamrup (rural) deputy commissioner (district magistrate), Kamal Kumar Baishya told TNIE.
He said that a dozen people were either rescued or they managed to swim ashore. Four of them were rushed to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for treatment.
“Officially, there were 22 people on board. However, we learnt that more than 30 people were travelling,” Baishya said.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are carrying out search and rescue operations.
Earlier in the day, nearly 90 hours after a car went missing with five people aboard in Dikhow river in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district, the rescuers retrieved the vehicle and the bodies of the victims.
The recovery was made by a joint team of divers from Indian Navy, NDRF and SDRF.
At 9 on Saturday night, the car went missing with Guwahati businessman Haren Bora (52), his wife Phunu (45), mother Punou (85) and the couple's two daughters Simpi (21) and Munmi (18). It was recovered from a place close to the site of the mishap at around 11:30 am on Wednesday. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had sent SOS to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defence Ministry to help the Assam government in tracing the vehicle.
The search team used modern technologies including side scan sonar and magnet in the operations. The vehicle’s presence at a depth of 20 ft was detected with the help of a magnet, a senior SDRF official told TNIE.