Dozens missing after Indian ferry capsizes

Virginia Carson
May 17, 2018

At least 13 people swam to safety after the boat capsized, PTI quoted the West Godavari Superintendent of Police Ravi Prakash as saying. Ace swimmers to trace the missing persons had been pressed into service, he said.

Teams from the Navy, state disaster management department and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were engaged in the rescue operations with the help of Navy helicopters.

Most of the passengers were part of a 20-member wedding party, the Hindustan Times reported.

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Locals claim that almost 50 people were on board and 10 swam to safety. After autopsy, the bodies were handed over to their relatives. "They had come to the weekly market (santha) to buy groceries, this happened on their way back".

Naidu blamed the private boat operator for the tragedy, saying the ferry was packed with men, cement bags and motorbikes.

Police told TNM that a criminal case has been filed against the owner of the boat, and he is in police custody. The passengers had a narrow escape as the driver wheeled the boat to the shore and they jumped off before the entire boat was completely gutted. When the boat was 10 minutes away from the banks, heavy rain and high-velocity winds started during which the small vessel lost its balance and capsized.

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Earlier in the day, Naidu personally monitored the operation of pulling out the boat and into rescue operations. "When the boat is nearly 10 minutes away to the banks, heavy rain and wind occurred, boat lost balance and slid one side".

Ajitha further said, "The doors being locked might be the reason behind more people getting stuck". Seventeen people have been pulled out of the water.

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