Millennium Post

Toll in Andhra boat tragedy mounts to 21

Vijayawada: The death toll in Sunday's boat capsize in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district rose to 21 on Monday as more bodies were recovered from Krishna river and one of the injured succumbed, police said.
The overloaded boat of a private operator carrying 45 tourists, including three crew members, capsized near Ibrahimpatnam Ferry Ghat near here on Sunday evening.
The tourists, majority of them hailing from Ongole town, were coming from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangamam, or holy confluence of Krishna and Godavari rivers to witness 'Maha haarathi' ritual on the last Sunday of the auspicious month of 'Karthika'.
Local fishermen and rescue workers saved 21 persons. The deceased included nine women and two children.
Making a statement in the state Assembly, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said 20 bodies had been recovered and the bodies have been handed over to their relatives.
He said out of 21 rescued and admitted to hospitals, 17 were discharged and four were still undergoing treatment.
He announced Rs five lakh reward for two fishermen, who rescued 17 people.
Naidu, who also visited the scene of the accident, said the whereabouts of three crew members were not known. He said the private boat had no licence to operate.
The tourists had boarded a boat of the tourism department, but when told that the time for ferrying passengers was already over they boarded the private boat.
The Chief Minister said the driver was inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area. He suddenly lost control of the overloaded boat, which capsized.
The police has registered a criminal case against the boat operator.
Naidu announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of the dead.
Terming the incident unfortunate, the Chief Minister said a committee comprising of IAS and IPS officers has been formed to prevent such incidents in future.
Except for three, all the victims were from Ongole town of Prakasam district.
As many as 32 members of the Ongole Walkers' Club were on board. The deceased include three relatives of Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary K. Narayana, a relative each of Director General of Police Sambasiva Rao and intelligence official Rama Rao.

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