Dhubri: Search is underway for over 100 people who went missing after a packed steamer carrying over 300 passengers sank in the Brahmaputra river on Monday after being caught in a severe storm midstream in this district.
Over 100 people were killed, including women and children, in the incident that has been described as one of the worst boat tragedies in Assam.
According to the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), the bodies of 103 victims, including women and children, had been recovered so far.
The BSF, the Army, the NDRF and local authorities are all helping in the rescue operations were overnight hampered by darkness, bad weather and a strong river current. The incident took place near Jaleswar.
There are also reports of another boat’s sinking at Jaleswar. In that incident 12 people are reported missing.
According to Deputy Commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita, about 25 people swam to safety after the double-decked ferry with over 300 people onboard capsized in the storm at 4.20 pm while crossing the river from Dhubrighat.
The bodies of the victims were kept at the Dhubri civil hospital, he said.
The steamer had left Dhubri ferry ghat for Medartary in south bank of the district in the evening and capsized because of the impact of the storm.
President Pratibha Patil has expressed grief over the loss of life while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the state government of all help for relief and fund for families of the deceased.
Singh spoke to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to convey his condolences. Gogoi has ordered an inquiry and asked the district administration to look after the survivors.