Search operations resumed Monday morning at 5.45 am at Devipatnam in East Godavari district where a tourist boat carrying 50-60 tourists capsized Sunday afternoon on Godavari River.
The boat was ferrying at least 50-60 people from the Gandipochamma temple to the Papikondalu hills when the mishap took place. At least eight people drowned and several others were reported missing.
An Indian Navy helicopter carried out multiple searches from accident site at Devipatnam to Pollavaram for 3 hours 15 minutes. No survivors or bodies were sighted. No debris of the boat was sighted, a government official said. A second chopper — a Chetak — has now resumed aerial search while hundreds of personnel from the NRDF, police, fire and emergency services are scouring the river in search of the missing persons and the sunken boat.
A special deep divers team from Uttarakhand equipped with `Side Scan Sonars’ landed at Vijaywada airport has also joined the search efforts.
Andhra Pradesh CMO officials released a statement saying that at least 25 persons were missing while 27 were rescued. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted an aerial survey of the area where the boat went down in heavy flood waters while the private tourist boat was on its way to Papikondalu hills for sightseeing.
According to state Tourism Minister M Srinivasa Rao, the boat was operated by a private agency based in Rajahmundry. “We are trying to find out how this private boat operated today, since Godavari is in spate. The state tourism department has stopped operating boats several days back due to the high water level. We have to investigate why this private boat was allowed to operate. We have deputed NDRF teams and sent several boats with swimmers to help in the rescue work,” Rao said.