31 dead as tourist boat capsizes near Andaman Islands
It is reported that though the vessel had the capacity to carry only 25 passengers, it was overcrowded with a large group of around 50 people from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, which led to the accident. The Lt Governor has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident and announced Rs. 1 lakh compensation to the families of the dead. A control room has been set up to provide information about those on board the ill-fated vessel. A list of the passengers would be released shortly, he added.
Speaking to Millennium Post over telephone from Port Blair, the tourism secretary Rakesh Bali said 31 people have died and more than 15 people were rescued. He further said that departmental inquiry will soon be ordered to ascertain the cause of mishap. ‘It was a small private vessel named Aqua Marine,’ said Bali.
When asked whether the vessel was overloaded with tourists or not and if adequate safety measures were taken into consideration, Bali said, ‘Our investigation into this tragic accident will reveal everything. If there were any lapses in terms of security, action will be taken against the owner of the private vessel. The owner will be summoned for questioning.’
He further said that injured who were rescued have been rushed to the GB Pant hospital where condition of most of them is stable. The incident took place when the vessel was on its way from North Bay to Port Blair via Ross Island. The boat capsized at around 3.30 pm, not very far from inner Abirdeen Jetty. Sources further said the death toll might increase in coming hours.