Thekkady (Kerala): The tourist boat that capsized in a lake here on Wednesday, leading to the loss of 45 lives, was overcrowded and also had inherent problems, according to a Kerala police officer probing the tragedy.
The double-decker boat, owned by the state-run Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), had the capacity of carrying 75 passengers but it was carrying 87 tourists that evening, PA Valsan, the Crime branch police team leader who is investigating the tragedy, said on Sunday.
"The boat driver had accommodated more than the carrying capacity of the boat and the driver`s irresponsible attitude in taking a sudden U-turn appears to be the main reason for the accident," he said.
Valsan has quizzed the driver and his assistant and also spoken to an engineer from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who lost his 19-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter in the accident.
"The driver of the boat will be charged with culpable homicide. With regards to the condition of the boat, more scientific tests would be done. The grieving father denied that the accident took place because those in the boat seeing animals on the bank of the river crowded to one side. The boat right from the day it was launched had a tilt towards one side," said Valsan.
Forensic experts have carried out a preliminary examination of the boat.
"They want the boat to be brought to the land so that the bottom portion could be inspected. That would be done shortly," added Valsan.
KTDC Saturday suspended boat driver Victor Samuel and two other staff members. Samuel, who is convalescing in a hospital near here, had said he did not have enough experience to drive the new boat.
The state government has announced it would initiate a judicial probe into the incident by a sitting judge.