The driver of the boat had no experience of operating ferry service in river waters and was not carrying a route map along with him, said Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya in reference to Krishna river boat capsize on Sunday evening.
Priya said, “The driver who was operating the boat had no prior experience operating it in the Krishna river. He was not even carrying a route map along with him. We have ordered a thorough probe into the incident and how the boat managed to carry passengers.”
On Sunday evening a boat capsize in Krishna River at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada. Twenty people including nine women and a teenaged boy were killed in the incident. Sixteen bodies were fished out of the river last night and four were recovered this morning.
The Andhra Pradesh tourism minister also added that there were no life jackets in the boat and he convinced people to take the trip. She added that the boat was owned by a private agency River Boating Adventure Company.
The minister also told the media that the boat which capsized in Krishna river was a new one and had entered the waters only on Sunday. “The boat had made only a couple of trial runs in the morning had no permission to ferry people from irrigation department or the tourism department,” added Priya.
The state tourism department also released a video clipping showing one of its officials asking the boat operators a few hours prior to the tragedy not to dock the boat at Durga Ghat jetty as it had no permissions. The state tourism official in the released video could be heard saying, “Please vacate the jetty and get permission from the authorities.”
The boat operator vacated the boat from the jetty and took it to Punnami Ghar from where 39 passengers boarded the vessel to go to Pavitra Sangamam at Ibrahimpatnam to participate in Maha Harathi on the occasion of Karthika Masam — a festival of lord Shiva.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chabdrababdu Naidu in the assembly said, “A criminal case of negligence has been registered against one Kondal Rao in whose name the private boating agency is registered and one of his associate Godela Srinu, who operated the boat without permission. The police has taken both of them into custody and are being interrogated.”
He said so far 20 bodies had been recovered from the river and whereabouts of another two persons were yet to be known. “Four persons are undergoing treatment in hospital,” he said.
Naidu also announced to constitute a committee of senior IAS and IPS officers to study the cause for such boat accidents and prevent the recurrence soon after the incident.