At least 17 people have been rescued in the boat tragedy in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh wherein the boat carrying at least 40 people capsized in river Godavari. However, at least 23 people continue to be missing even as the rescue and relief operations are underway.
The rescue operation is being carried out jointly by National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and Eastern Naval Command. Many people are feared drowned in the boat tragedy. Earlier reports had said that at least 10 people swam to safety.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa on Tuesday spoke to East Godavari district officials over the phone and enquired about the incident.
The Chief Minister directed the District Collector to deploy special teams to rescue the victims, a release said. According to an official from Rajamahendravaram, the boat mishap might have been caused by strong wind in the region.
The ill-fated boat was on its way to Rajamahendravaram from Kondamodalu when tragedy struck. When the boat was 10 minutes away from the banks, heavy rain and high-velocity winds started during which the small vessel lost its balance and capsized.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his anguish over the incident on Twitter. "Anguished by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for the safety of those missing," he tweeted.
Chandrababu Naidu also took to the micro-blogging site and said the incident is "highly painful" and officials have been asked to take up the rescue operations on a war footing.