JAIPUR: Eleven people died while 3 others are missing after a boat carrying about four dozen people overturned in the Chambal river in Kota district of Rajasthan early on Wednesday morning.
Rescuers rushed to the spot as soon as information about the accident was received and have so far evacuated 20 people safely. The search for the rest of the people in the boat is still going on.
The tragedy happened around 9 am in the morning at a spot where water was of 40 to 50 feet in depth. Most people boarded the boat to visit Kamleshwar Dham near Gothala Kala in Bundi district. The boat lost its balance in the middle of the river due to over-weight. The boat capsized in the area between Chanada and Gothada village.
By the time the Police and district administration could reach the spot, many of the devotees travelling in the boat had already been killed. While the boatman swam to safety, many of his passengers died. The boat was carrying far more weight than its capacity permitted. Besides being unfit, the boat was carrying four dozen people though it should have carried a maximum of 25 people.
One of the eyewitnesses said: “The wooden boat was already in a terrible condition and yet it was filled with more passengers than it could take. In addition, lots of bikes were also put on board. As a result of the excessive weight, the boat finally overturned and people lost their lives.” A youngster who was involved in the rescue operation said that the “boatman had refused to take so many people. But passengers kept insisting that they needed to travel and many even kept their bikes on the boat.
The Kota District Magistrate, Ujjwal Rathore, who supervised the rescue operation said, “Eleven bodies have been recovered while three others are missing. The rescue operation is underway.” While speaking to reporters, Rathore further added "we will lodge a case and conduct a detailed probe on this tragedy."
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the people who have died in the tragedy. He tweeted: “The incident of a boat capsizing in the Dhibri Chambal at Kota’s Khatoli police station area is extremely saddening and unfortunate. I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims in the accident.”