At least 12 people drowned and 26 others were missing after a boat, carrying aournd 60 people, including nine crew members, capsized in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district on Sunday. While 17 of the people traveling in the boat were rescued by locals, search operation was on for the missing. The baot, run by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, had started off from the Gandi Pochamma Temple near Devipatnam and was heading towards the picturesque Papikondalu. However, it tipped voer in the swallon Godavari river near Kachhuluru.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed his grief over the incident and announced Rs 10 lakhs ex-gratia each to the families of the deceased. The chief minister has asked all the available ministers in the district to personally monitor and suprevise the rescue operations at the site of the incident. He has also ordered to suspend all boating services in the region immediately, news agency ANI reported.
Tourism Minister Avanti Srinivas rushed to spot to take stock of the situation and montior the rescue work after CM Reddy's directions. Two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), one from Vizag and the other from Guntur, were carrying out the search and rescue operations of the missing tourists.
Andhra Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam has spoken to East Godavari District Collector Muralidhar Reddy to enquire about the mishap. Subrahmanyam has directed authorities to send a helicopter to the spot to trace the missing victims. Special rescue teams of Uttarakhand have also been called to help in the rescue mission.
Meanwhile, several political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed their grief over the mishap and prayed for safety of those missing in the incident. While PM Modi termed the incident "most traumatic", Rahul Gandhi paid his deepest condolences to the kins of the deceased.
"A boat accident in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district today is one of the most traumatic. I express my deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. Auxiliary operations at the accident site are underway," PM Modi said.