Dhubri: A storm in the Brahmaputra river in Assam's Dhubri district caused a ferry to capsize mid-stream on Monday evening. Here are 10 facts on this tragedy:
1) 17 bodies have been recovered so far. The government says there are no exact figures on how many people were on board the boat, but warns the death toll is likely to go up.
2) Some agencies say despite an operating capacity of 225, over 300 people were on board the two-deck boat when it broke up mid-stream in torrential, pre-monsoon rain.
3) Deputy Commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita has said more than 100 people are missing. He added about 25 people swam to safety after the ferry capsized in the storm at around 4:20 pm on Monday.
4) The Army has rushed in two infantry columns, two engineer task forces with six boats, 12 divers and medical teams to assist in the rescue operations. Besides the Army, the BSF's water wing, National Disaster Relief Force and Assam police with mechanized boats are engaged in a massive rescue operation in the river.
5) Local fishermen are helping authorities with the rescue operations.
6) Strong winds had uprooted trees, blocking roads leading to the disaster site and preventing some rescue teams from reaching the area, said officials. More rain was forecast for the area today. "The weather is inclement and the river is rough, so the rescue efforts are being hampered," said JN Choudhury, Director General of Police, Assam.
7) The steamer had left Dhubri ferry ghat for Medartary in south bank of the district, some 300 kilometres west of state capital Guwahati.
8) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
9) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for next of kin of those killed in the tragedy.
10) This is one of the worst ferry disasters in recent memory in the region. At least 79 pilgrims drowned when an overcrowded boat carrying 150 people sank in West Bengal in October 2010. In March this year, some 138 people died in neighbouring Bangladesh when an overloaded ferry carrying 200 people sank in the Meghna river, southeast of Dhaka.
Story first published:
May 01, 2012 13:27 IST