The death toll in boat capsizal in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh has risen to 19 as rescues are searching the missing, officials said Monday.
The boat capsized in River Krishna in Krishna district, 55 km east of Amravati, the main city of Andhra Pradesh.
“The death toll in the Krishna boat capsizal has gone up to 19, ” a senior official at Krishna collectorate said.
“The bodies have been fished out and we are trying to trace the remaining missing ones,” he added.
According to the officials, the boat was carrying around 40 people when it capsized into the river on Sunday evening.
Following the incident, the official said they rushed police and disaster management officials to the spot to carry out rescue work.
“Rescue operation has been continuing since yesterday with four of our teams including divers making efforts to trace missing people,” a national disaster response force (NDRF) official on the spot told media.
Eyewitnesses said 20 people were rescued by local fishermen after the boat overturned.
The local tourists on the boat were heading to witness the grand maha haarathi, a local ritual.
“The victims were identified as members of the Ongole Walkers Club in Prakasam district while some were from Nellore,” a local resident Arun Kumar told Xinhua.
The banks of the river were crowded with holiday visitors when the tragedy struck.
Police officials said the boat was operating without a license besides there were no life jackets or floatation devices on it.
Authorities said they have ordered an investigation into the boat capsizal though apparently overcrowding is said to be the cause.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed pain over the loss of lives due to capsizal of boat in the Krishna River.
“Capsizing of a boat in the Krishna River is anguishing. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy. The Andhra Pradesh government and NDRF headquarters have been working on rescue operation,” a government spokesman quoted Modi as having said.
In April this year, 13 people drowned after boat carrying them capsized in the state.