The boat had also been overloaded, carrying 38 passengers instead of the 30 it was allowed to carry.

Not given life jackets say AP boat tragedy survivors Death toll now at 19PTI
news Tragedy Monday, November 13, 2017 - 12:44

More than 17 hours after a boat capsized in Andhra’s Krishna River, 19 bodies have been recovered by rescuers, while four people still remain missing. As the search for the final four continues, survivors say that the disaster was avoidable and even the most basic safety precautions weren’t taken.  

What emerges is that so many lives were lost because the boat operators did not even provide the passengers with life jackets.

At around 5.45pm on Sunday evening, the boat travelling from Bhavani Island to Pavithra Sangamam in Ibrahimpatnam, capsized shortly before it reached its destination, after it hit a sand bar and tilted.  

The boat had a carrying capacity of only 30 persons, but the operators loaded on 38 passengers in violation of safety norms.

Worse still, even though passengers insistently asked for life jackets, the boat driver reportedly refused to provide them, claiming that they were unnecessary because the journey was a very short one.

Speaking to 10 TV, one survivor said, "We asked him (the driver) for life jackets, but he kept on telling us that nothing will happen. The boat driver initially managed to keep the boat still when it was about to overturn. But within a short span of time it overturned.”

The survivor added that they and others were rescued thanks to the timely actions of nearby fishermen. “I don’t know how many more people were there in the boat. I and my wife are extremely thankful to fishermen. They saved us,” the traumatised survivor said.

Two 30-member rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force, 45 members from the State Disaster Response Force and 12 rescue boats have been plied in to the search for the missing passengers.

While 15 people were rescued, 16 bodies were recovered on Sunday evening. According to the latest reports, three more bodies were recovered on Monday morning.

On Monday, Home Minister Chinna Rajappa announced an ex gratia of Rs 8 lakh for all the victims, with an additional Rs 2 lakh for those coming under the Chandranna Bima Padhakam scheme.

Various political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the Opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Telangana Minister for Information KT Rama Rao expressed their condolences over the incident. 

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