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No progress yet in efforts to retrieve capsized boat

Rajamahendravaram: There has been no breakthrough in efforts to pull out the boat Royal Punnami which sank in Godavari with around 75 passengers onboard on September 15 at Kachhulurumandam under Devipatnam mandal. NDRF, SDRF and Navy teams have expressed their inability to retrieve the boat as it was deep in water.

Meanwhile, Balimela and Satyam team from Kakinada also tried their hand using 1,000 metre steel cables along with some other equipment but in vain. Authorities are waiting for one more expert team that is due to arrive at Devipatnam from Mumbai. The rescue operations are going in the river between Kachhulurumanda and Dowleswaram.

Interestingly, launches Uday Bhaskar and Jhansi which capsized in the same spot in 1959 and 1964, have not yet been traced so far. Around 60 people each were travelling on those launches but many bodies have not been found.

Some experts are saying that because of the existing circumstances in the river, it is difficult task to recover the tourist boat and in due course the launch may be buried under deposits of sand and mud.

Out of the 73 tourists onboard, so far 35 bodies have been recovered, 12 yet to be recovered and 26 people survived out of the 73 tourists, believed to be travelling on the boat at the time of mishap.

On Thursday body of a women from Visakhapatnam district was recovered at the accident spot and was shifted to government hospital Rajamahendravaram for post-mortem.

The missing passengers include Pavan Kumar, Vasundhara of Hyderabad, K Ramyasr of Mancherial, M Aruna Kumari and her children Akilesh and Kushali, M Gangadhar of Narsapuram, B Dharma Raju, K Ravi, K RajKumar of Warangal, Satyanarayana and Nookaraju, drivers of the launch, of Devipatnam.

The situation at the Rajamahendravaram government hospital is heart-rending as family members and relatives of those missing wait for the whereabouts of their dear ones.

Meanwhile, district administration is running help desks on hospital premises and informing the relatives about the details of the bodies whenever they come from Devipatnam.

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