KENDRAPARA: One boy died and another went missing when a boat capsized in Bausagali river within Bhitarkanika National Park limits on Saturday.
A total of 35 persons were on board the country boat and 10 have been seriously injured. They were being evacuated from erosion-hit Satabhaya village to a cyclone shelter at Okilapala in the district, by the district administration, in wake of the approaching cyclone Hudhud.
While body of nine-year-old girl, Puja Mallick, was fished out of the river, that of a boy Hemanta Mallick, 11, is yet to be traced.
The incident occurred at 10 am when the boat in which hit roots of mangrove trees and capsized. Apparently, Rajnagar block tehsildar and BDO were also aboard the boat when the evacuation drive was being carried out, said Collector Pramod Kumar Das.
As Satabhaya is vulnerable to cyclone and tidal surges, the administration had decided to evacuate villagers to cyclone shelters nearby. Sarpanch of the village, Nigamananda Rout informed that the boat was overcrowded. “It had the capacity to carry just 15 persons but 35 were travelling in it which is why it capsized,” he said.
Other villagers alleged that they had urged the district administration to provide a mechanised boat, but the authorities deployed a country boat for evacuation.