Assam boat capsize: 84 passengers found alive, two missing
Overnight search and rescue operations established contacts with 84 persons who were traveling on the ill-fated boat that capsized in the Brahmaputra river in Assam, but two persons are still missing, officials said. One person was confirmed dead after a private boat heading to Majuli sank on Wednesday evening, following a head-on collision with a government-owned ferry near Nimati Ghat in the Jorhat district.
Wreckage of boat was found overturned 1.5km downstream of Brahmaputra
"The wreckage of the boat, which was found overturned around 1.5 km downstream of the mighty Brahmaputra, was cut open from the base by NDRF and SDRF divers, but no body was found inside it," Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Ashok Barman said. "So far, one person is confirmed dead and two persons are missing," he said.
Search operation still going on with NDRF and SDRF divers
"We could do contact tracing of 84 persons to different villages in Jorhat and Majuli districts. This adds up to the presence of 87 passengers on the boat," he added. Jorhat's Superintendent of Police Ankur Jain said the two missing persons hail from Jorhat and Lakhimpur, and search operation is still going on with divers from NDRF and SDRF with backup of the Army.
Air Force will also conduct an aerial survey downstream
"The divers on Thursday morning also went inside the boat, but could not find any body. Army divers will also search the area. Air Force will carry out an aerial survey downstream to locate the missing persons," he said. Jorhat Medical College and Hospital's Superintendent Purnima Barua said 11 passengers were admitted to the hospital, of whom one died and three were released.
Seven persons are still undergoing treatment: Barua
"Seven persons are still undergoing treatment, but none of them are critical. More than physical injury, they are in mental trauma," she said. The deceased was identified as Parimita Das, who hailed from Guwahati and was working as a faculty at Rangachahi College in Majuli.
Initial estimate of passengers varied between 80 and 150
Officials of the Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department said private boat Ma Kamala was heading to Majuli from Nimati Ghat on the southern bank with passengers and vehicles, while government ferry MB Tipkai was coming from the world's largest river island when the two collided. The initial estimate of the passengers on Ma Kamala varied from 80 to 150 as per eyewitness accounts.
Three officials of the IWT have been suspended: Transport Minister
Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said many heads will roll after the inquiry by Transport Secretary Jadav Saikia is complete. "Already three officials of the IWT are suspended," he said. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also visited Nimati Ghat to access the on-ground situation.