A boat carrying close to 40 passengers capsized in the Godavari River on Saturday evening, reportedly due to strong currents. The accident took place at the I. Polavaram mandal of East Godavari district. So far, most of the passengers have been rescued, but five are still missing, say police.
Local police and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel have reached the spot, and rescue and search operations have been launched. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is said to be closely monitoring the situation.
Some reports also suggest that locals jumped in to help the operations.
The officials managed to fish out a book containing the names of those on board and have initiated steps to ascertain passenger identities."We have been going from village to village to find out who is missing, so far we have identified five people as missing. There are no fatalities till now. The exact number of passengers are not known, it could be anywhere between 30 to 40. Our divers are on the lookout but it's now night and so will be able to give a confirmation on those missing on Sunday," said Vishal Gummi, Superintendent of Police, East Godavari.
In the event of an accident of such magnitude, the NDRF and State DRF, Disaster Response and Fire Service Department officials are the first respondents to head the search and rescue operations.
‚ÄúThe incident took place at 4.30 pm. We reached the spot within 15 minutes after being alerted by locals. The National Disaster Relief Force personnel were alerted even before the police, so they have been able to react quicker. Thus, we have been able to ensure that some of the passengers were rescued. The rescue operation is still underway, and we are still searching for the others,‚ÄĚ said Shekar Reddy, Sub-Inspector, I. Polavaram, Andhra Pradesh.
This, however, is not the first such accident to take place on the Godavari river.
Earlier this year on May 19, in a similar accident, a driver lost control of the wheel due to bad weather. The driver had locked the doors of the downstairs area which led to a higher number of fatalities, said the East Godavari collector Kartikeya Misra while addressing a press conference.
On November 2017, a boat carrying 38 people capsized, leaving 14 tourists dead in the Krishna River near Vijayawada.
This is a developing story