At least 12 people drowned and dozens were missing after a tour boat capsized in the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh yesterday, police said, as rescuers searched frantically for survivors.
The Royal Vashishta vessel was carrying 63 people, most of them tourists, to a picnic spot near Rajahmundry at the time of the accident.
Rescue teams including divers and a helicopter were scouring the river, a senior police official said.
Some 12 bodies had been found, the police said.
“Twenty-seven (people) were either rescued by local fishermen or swam to safety,” a state disaster management authority official said.
Twenty-two people are missing, and rescue operations by local agencies would continue through the night, the official said.
State officials told reporters that tourist boats had been barred from operating on the route due to recent flooding.
The administration will look into how the boat managed to take the tourists, and strict action will be taken against those guilty.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in the accident.
“Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said on Twitter.
State authorities have announced a compensation of Rs1mn.
The Godavari river has been flowing fast for a week, local media said, adding that the boat was run by the state government.
Overcrowding and poor safety checks often cause boat accidents in India, especially during the annual monsoon rains when rivers are swollen.
Last week a dozen people died in central Bhopal after two boats capsized during a ceremony to immerse an idol of Ganesha into a river.
In another tragic incident, seven members of a family drowned in the swollen Yamuna river in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, police said.
Three bodies have been recovered while divers are searching for the remaining four.
According to reports, the victims entered the river to immerse the ashes after a religious event in their house, waded into deep waters and apparently got caught in the swirling currents.
Also yesterday, the bodies of four boys who drowned at a water-logged stone quarry in North Goa’s Tuem village were retrieved yesterday, police said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Gajanan Prabhudessai said “the operation to locate the bodies lasted several hours and all four bodies have been salvaged from the quarry.”
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