Odisha boat tragedy: Death toll reaches 24; Rahul visits accident site

Thirteen more bodies were recovered by scuba divers on Monday; seven people still missing.

Sambalpur (odisha) | Updated: February 10, 2014 3:36:25 pm
Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day tour of Odisha and will visit the accident site. (PTI) Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day tour of Odisha and will visit the accident site. (PTI)

The death toll in the Odisha boat tragedy climbed to 24 with scuba divers recovering thirteen more bodies on Monday.

The incident took place on Sunday when around 120 people from the Lion’s Club of Sambalpur, Hirakud and Bargarh, were returning after going to other side of the reservoir for a picnic.

The bodies were found as scuba divers were engaged in the morning to trace the missing persons after the boat capsize in Sambalpur district on Sunday, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

Efforts were still on to trace the seven missing persons.

Eleven bodies were handed over to their family members on Sunday night after postmortem.

Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited the site of accident in Hirakud reservoir and conducted an aerial survey of the area.

He spent some time at Jamadarpali Ghat on the bank of Mahanadi river near Hirakud reservoir and met some families who have lost their relatives in the tragedy.

Gandhi, who is currently on a two-day visit to the state, was accompanied by PCC president Jaydev Jena and AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad.

The Congress leader also enquired about the rescue and search operation being carried out to locate the missing people.

Locals said people panicked when water began to flood the boat from numerous leaks. Many jumped out to get into two other boats travelling close by. This led to the accident as the boat lost balance and capsized.

Hirakud lake, reportedly the biggest artificial lake in Asia with a reservoir holding capacity of 743 square km, was formed after the Hirakud dam was built across Mahanadi river in 1957.

(With PTI inputs)

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