Tourist boat catches fire in Godavari; all passengers safe

At least 90 tourists had a narrow escape when a private boat carrying them caught fire in the middle of Godavari River on Friday morning in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the flames from the stove in the boat’s kitchen had spread to the generator due to a wind.

According to passengers who escaped mishap by jumping into the water, the fire broke out within 10 minutes after leaving from Pochamma Gandi, a pilgrim centre in Veerapulanka village.

Within seconds the alert driver diverted the boat to a nearby island and managed to rescue all tourist. However, many tourists lost their luggage and cash in the fire.

Eyewitnesses told that the boat with over 90 passengers started off around 9.30 am from Rajahmundry. Most of the passengers stood on both sides of the boat enjoying the scenic beauty. Within ten minutes, the staff started serving breakfast. A few minutes later, some of the tourists noticed thick smoke coming out of the engine from beneath the boat and alerted the staff.

With few passengers alerting tourism officials as well over the telephonic call, speed boats with policemen from Devipatnam police station reached the spot.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed the district officials to provide medical aid to the victims.

The tourists were going on a picnic to Papikondalu, a famous tourist spot, where the river meanders through a narrow passage between two picturesque hills.

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