Capsized boat still in Godavari depths as rain stalls rescue ops

Rajahmundry: Heavy rain coupled with strong current hampered the operations of retrieving the ill-fated tourist boat which capsized in river Godavari near Katchuluru, in Devipatnam mandal of East Godavari district last Sunday. While the boat has been located lying at a depth of 210 feet on the river bed, rescue teams found it tough to operate in the turbulent waters.
On day five of Operation Vasistha, the rescue team found two dead bodies along the river Godavari, but declared they were not the passengers of the boat that capsized on September 15, said East Godavari superintendent of police Adnan Nayeem Asmi.
Speaking to TOI, Asmi said that they have retrieved 34 bodies so far during the rescue operations since the incident on Sunday afternoon. Asmi said that 26 persons survived while 13 persons were still missing, adding that all efforts were being made to retrieve the missing bodies, including fishing out the boat from the river. He added that marine experts from Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada are engaged in pulling out the boat with help of local fishermen. A Mumbai-based marine expert, Saurav Bakshi, also arrived here to join the ‘pull out’ operation of Royal Vasistha boat. Kakinada Port authorities brought Bakshi to guide its team including the Kakinada-based Dharmadi Satyam and fishermen to pull out the boat that is trapped inside the river at a depth of nearly 210 feet.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) second-in-command Kuladeep Singh, who has been camping here to oversee the rescue operations, said that they have searched nearly 26 km along the river from the spot at Kucchuluru on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the officials are planning to strictly monitor the operation of private boats in the area. According to sources, 24 tourist boats operate from Rajahmundry. The boat owners add ‘Punnami’ to their boats’ name to give the impression that they are operating the services on behalf of APTDC.
People also book tickets thinking the boats belong to the government. When tickets are issued by the APTDC, passengers need to provide all details including name, address, gender and age. All such passengers are also insured. But those operating private boats do not collect any such details. In this particular case, the ill-fated boat’s owner reportedly charged Rs 1,200 per ticket from the tourists.

Let's block ads! (Why?)