46 feared dead as tourist ferry over­turns in Go­davari

Had No Li­cence Or Ap­proval For Mon­soon Trips

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Ka­malakar Rao & Sam­son Raj

Forty-six peo­ple were feared dead on Sun­day in one of the worst river­ine tragedies in the coun­try in re­cent times when a pri­vate ferry car­ry­ing tourists to the pic­turesque Papikonda hills in Andhra Pradesh cap­sized mid­stream in the Go­davari flow­ing at the dan­ger mark on Sun­day morn­ing.

Twenty-six pas­sen­gers were res­cued from the swollen river by res­i­dents of East Go­davari dis­trict’s Kuchu­luru vil­lage. Eight bod­ies had been fished out till evening while 38 were still miss­ing.

There were 72 peo­ple, in­clud­ing nine crew mem­bers, on board Royal Vashistha which was mov­ing against the cur­rent of the river when it over­turned. None of the bod­ies fished out had life jack­ets on them. The sur­vivors, all wear­ing safety vests, said the oth­ers had taken them off as it was swel­ter­ing. This is the worst tragedy in the river since 60 peo­ple died when a boat sank in 1964.

Andhra tourism min­is­ter Avanti Srini­vas claimed the boat, which had no li­cence, also had no per­mis­sion to run tourist trips at this time when the river was in spate and that the op­er­a­tors had flouted a clear warn­ing sign at Dhowlaiswa­ram bar­rage.

CM Y S Ja­gan­mo­han Reddy, who re­viewed re­lief and res­cue op­er­a­tions, an­nounced an ex-gra­tia of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the de­ceased, while his Te­lan­gana coun­ter­part, K Chan­drasekhar Rao, an­nounced Rs 5 lakh.

The gov­ern­ment or­dered sus­pen­sion of boat­ing op­er­a­tions in the river — they had re­sumed only on Fri­day — fol­low­ing the tragedy. Officials were di­rected to check the li­cence of all boats in the area and whether their staffers were ad­e­quate trained.

FULL COV­ER­AGE: P8

NDRF per­son­nel and vil­lagers res­cued 26 pas­sen­gers of the ferry, eight bod­ies were fished out while 38 were still miss­ing

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