Godavari boat tragedy: Toll reaches 23 as search and rescue teams retrieve 14 more bodies

By Express News Service

RAJAHMUNDRY (AP): NDRF and SDRF teams engaged in search and rescue operation following the capsize of a tourist boat in the Godavari retrieved a total 14 bodies on Tuesday, taking the toll in the tragedy to 23. 

Search is underway for another 10 people who are still missing while 27 people have survived the mishap. Efforts are on to establish the identity of the victims. Bodies are being shifted to Area Hospital in Rampachodavaram. 

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NDRF personnel have identified that the capsized boat was at a depth of 315 feet and suspect that the missing people might be stuck in the boat.  High intensity of the flood flow and the depth and the whirlpools in the area are posing difficulty in retrieving the boat wreckage. 

APSDMA officials told TNIE that search and rescue efforts have been intensified with the help of a specialised deep divers team equipped with side-scan sonar from Uttarakhand. One team of divers from the Navy, 6 fire and rescue teams, 2 NDRF, and 3 SDRF teams are already engaged in search and rescue operations. Two Navy and 1 ONGC choppers have been pressed into service to assist in rescue operations. 

On Sunday, a private tourist boat - Royal Vashista- set out to Papi Kondalu from Singanapalli near Gandi Pochamma temple in Devipatnam mandal of East Godavari district.  At around 1:45 pm the boat tilted sidewards and capsized at Kachuluru village in Devipatnam mandal.  Tribals at Kachuluru who saw the mishap, immediately rushed to the spot to rescue the survivors.

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Meanwhile, postmortem for the 8 bodies that were retrieved on the first day was performed at the Government General Hospital and 7 of them were handed over to the respective family members. 

Director-General of Police Gautam Sawang went to Rajamahendravaram on Tuesday to supervise the search and rescue operations. 


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