- The incident took place in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh
- There were 63 people on board the tourism boat
- Extremely pained by the tragedy, PM Modi said on Twitter
Twelve people have died and several are missing after a tourist boat overturned in the Godavari River in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday afternoon. There were 63 people on board the boat and 21 have been rescued, authorities said.
The boat had started off for the picturesque Papikondalu hill range, a prime tourist destination, from Gandi Pochamma Temple near Devipatnam, news agency PTI reported.
The accident took place near Kacchuluru village in Devipatnam Mandal, about 200 km from Amravati. All boating services in the region have been suspended.
Most of those on the boat were from Telangana, news agency IANS reported. Officials said 22 of the tourists were from Hyderabad and 14 from Warangal.
While the passengers were wearing life jackets, survivors complained to local media that the driver appeared untrained and the crew was helpless in dealing with the emergency.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force, with 140 personnel, were called in to the accident spot for the rescue operation along with a helicopter.
The search operation, called off late Sunday because of low-light conditions, will resume on Monday.
Two helicopters from Indian Naval Station Dega will join the search operation to trace those still missing, the Navy said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "extremely pained" by the incident.
"Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy," he tweeted.
Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 15, 2019
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the tragedy and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the family of those killed.
Several politicians expressed grief.
I'm sorry to hear about the boat accident in the Godavari river, in #AndhraPradesh . My deepest condolences to the families of those who have perished in this tragedy. I pray that all those reported missing will soon be accounted for and that they are safe.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 15, 2019
Saddened at the loss of lives in the Godavari boat tragedy in Andhra Pradesh. My condolences to the families of the deceased. My prayers that the missing passengers are rescued.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) September 15, 2019
The Godavari River has swelled in the past few days with over 5 lakh cusecs of floodwater flowing on Sunday afternoon when the incident took place.
The incident comes days after one in Madhya Pradesh where 11 people drowned during an idol immersion at the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
With limited regulation and lackadaisical safety checks, boat accidents are alarmingly common in the country.
(With inputs from agencies)