Six more bodies were recovered from the Godavari river on Wednesday morning, taking the overall toll in Sunday’s boat capsize tragedy that occured near Devipatnam in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district to 33, officials said.
Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at 37, saying that 10 bodies were recovered since the morning. “Five bodies were found at Devipatnam, four near Pasarlapudi of Mamidikuduru block and one more body at Kumaradevam village of Kovvuru block,” said a local at Rajahmundry hospital.
M Francis, deputy information director of East Godavari district, said out of the 73 passengers on board of the ill-fated boat Royal Vashishta, only 26 could be saved. “The rescue teams are conducting search operations to find the missing passengers, who are believed to be dead,” he said.
The bodies were shifted to the government hospital at Rajahmundry for post-mortem.
Efforts are still on to retrieve the boat located at a depth of around 300 feet at Kachuluru village, where it sank on Sunday afternoon. Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) project officer Nishanth Kumar, who is supervising the rescue operations, said it was the “biggest such operation ever conducted in the country”.
“The boat weighs 25 tonnes. Since it is located deep in a narrow passage between two hills, the speed of the water is very high and there are two dangerous whirlpools at the accident spot. The visibility is very poor and most divers brought from the Indian Navy have expressed their inability to go more than 70 ft deep into the water,” he said.
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