Elluru: At least 10 pilgrims were
drowned and 30 others went missing after an overcrowded boat
capsized in Godavari river in West Godavari district of Andhra
Pradesh on Saturday.
The country-made boat ferrying over 70 persons
overturned at around 0700 hours in the river near Biyyaputeppa
village, 70 kms from Vijaywada, West Godavari District
Collector A Vani Prasad said.
The victims, mostly belonging to fishermen families
from Upputeru and nearby villages were proceeding to have a
holy dip at a temple in Antarvedi, on the other side, when the
mishap occured, official sources said.
So far, 10 bodies including that of four women and
four children have been fished out and nine of them have been
identified, they said.
According to reports reaching here, villagers rescued
about 40 people, of which some of them swam to safety.
Rescue operations have been launched by East and West
Godavari district administration officials, and a chopper from
the Eastern Command Naval base with two boats and expert
divers from Visakhapatnam have been summoned to trace the
missing persons, Agricultural Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told
An ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the kin of the deceased
has been announced, he said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah has directed
district in-charge ministers Vatti Vasanth Kumar (Rural
Development) and P Satyanarayana (Arogyasri) to supervise and
speed up the rescue work.
Antarvedi is an important pilgrim centre in Andhra
Pradesh and devotees flock the place to take a holy dip on a
full moon day.