Death toll rises to 26, still 21 more untraced
Rajamahendravaram: The death toll in the boat capsize incident rose to 26 with rescue workers on Tuesday pulling out 14 bodies from the Godavari river.
According to officials, there were 73 passengers on board the Royal Punnami when it sank on September 15. Of them, 26 survived, 26 bodies retrived so far and 21 are still missing.
The search operation continued around the accident site and downstream for the third consecutive day. Ambulances from various parts of the state as well as Telagana were kept ready at the RAjamahendravaram government hospital. As there are no basic facilities in Devipatnam, the bodies are being sent to Rajamahendravaram.
Twelve bodies were found at Devipatnam near the accident site. Two bodies which had washed away were retrieved from Dowaleswaram barrage. Indian Navy, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and fire services personnel are participating in the search operation.
Officials said they believe there may be some more bodies in the boat as it turned upside down. Efforts are on to lift it from 315 feet depth. Minister for tourism Avanthi Srinivas said that the rescue operations would be continued until last body is recovered and the capsized boat was traced using latest technology.
"A special team from Uttarakhand was entrusted with the task of lifting the boat from river bed. ITDA project officer Nishanat Kumar is supervising the rescue operations," he added. Authorities stopped boat operations on the river for the last two months due to heavy inflows from upstream.