Andhra Pradesh: 12 dead as tourist boat capsizes in Godavari
In a tragic incident, a tourist boat carrying over 60 people including 11 crew members capsized in the Godavari river near Kacchuluru in Devipatnam Mandal, Andhra Pradesh on Sunday afternoon. The mishap occurred as the boat started from Gandi Pochamma Temple near Devipatnam and headed towards the Papikondalu hills, a popular tourist destination. Reportedly, the Godavari river has been in spate. Here's more.
According to PTI, at least 12 people died in the accident, while 17 people were rescued by locals, the police said. The death toll is expected to rise and many others remain missing. The boat belonged to private agency Punnami Tourism, The Indian Express reported. Over 5.13 lakh cusecs of floodwater was flowing on Sunday. Hence, tourist services had been halted.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister M Srinivasa Rao told The Indian Express, "We are trying to find out how this private boat operated today especially as floodwaters haven't receeded in the Godavari." Rao added, "Government boats operated by AP Tourism have all been stopped since several days due to the flood. Why this private boat was allowed to operate today we have to investigate."
Reportedly, 140 SDRF and NDRF personnel have been sent to the accident spot to conduct rescue operations, along with local police and officials. A chopper has also been pressed into action to trace the boat mishap victims. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the incident and announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 10 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
The Chief Minister is reviewing the situation and has directed local ministers and MLAs to supervise rescue operations, HT reported. State Home Minister M Sucharita said officials who permitted the boat to leave port will reportedly face action. Rao said the capsized boat didn't have a license of the Tourism Department but had permission from Kakinada Port authorities.
Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 15, 2019