RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM: With four more bodies including that of a one-year-old baby retrieved from the river on Monday morning, the toll in the Godavari boat tragedy increased to 12. Another 35 people are still missing while 26 have survived the mishap.
Three bodies were found near Katchaluru while the body of the baby was traced at Vadapalle. Efforts are on to establish the identity of the victims.
NDRF personnel found the capsized boat at a depth of 315 feet and suspect that several of the missing people might be stuck inside.
They said given the high intensity of the flood flow and the depth, it would take some time for them to retrieve the boat wreckage.
Search and rescue operations at the accident spot and nearby places have been intensified
All the gates of Dowaleswaram Barrage on the river Godavari were also closed, so as to retrieve bodies that might have washed downstream from the accident spot.
On Sunday, a private tourist boat - Royal Vasishta - set out to Papi Kondalu from Singanapalli near Gandi Pochamma temple in Devipatnam Mandal of East Godavari district.
At around 1:45 p.m. the boat tilted sidewards and capsized at Kachuluru village in Devipatnam Mandal. Tribals at Kachuluru who saw the mishap, immediately rushed to the spot to rescue the survivors. A total of 26 people were rescued.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, after doing an aerial survey of the boat accident spot in l interacted with the survivors, who are undergoing treatment at Government hospital in Rajamahendravaram.
He went to each and everyone and consoled them. Spending some time with them, he tried to get first-hand information about how the accident happened.
Madhulatha, one of the survivors, who is from Tirupati, broke down before the Chief Minister.
She explained how her husband tried to save her and her daughter and how her daughter slipped into the river.
She thanked the Chief Minister for consoling her.
Jagan Mohan Reddy also interacted with Janakirama Rao from Uppal, who lost his wife and relatives in the disaster.
Doctors in the hospital were directed to provide the best medical treatment without scope for any complaints.
Later, he interacted with family members of the victims and consoled them. Officials were directed to make arrangements of shifting the bodies to their respective native places.
Ministers Mekathoti Sucharitha, K Kanna Babu, Alla Nani, P Viswaroop, M Srinivas Rao, T Vanita, Telangana Ministers Puvvada Ajay Kumar, and Errabelli Dayakar Rao were also present.
Earlier, Minister for Health Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) told mediapersons that search and rescue efforts have been intensified with NDRF, SDRF, Navy swimmers using helicopters and boats.
“Postmortem for 4 victims have been completed and for the remaining will be completed shortly, before handing them over to the respective family members."
"An inquiry has been ordered and stern action will be taken against those responsible. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has already announced Rs 10 lakh as an exgratia for the victims of the boat tragedy,” he said.