Thekkady tragedy: Boat was not 'water worthy'
Thiruvananthapuram: The Thekkady mishap
in which 45 tourists died could have been averted had the
boat, which had "serious structural defects", been tested for
its "water worthiness", a forensic probe has revealed.
The boat was unstable, not water worthy and had a
rightward inclination besides the fibre used was of poor
quality, said the report of K Mohanan, joint director of
Kerala Police Academy's forensic department.
If the vessel's water worthiness was examined before
it was cleared for the cruise in the Thekkady lake in the
Periyar Tiger Reserve, such a tragedy could have been avoided,
the report, submitted to IGP R Sreelekha today, said.
An experts' team led by Dr Parelal, head of the
department of shipping technology of Cochin University, would
visit Thekkady tomorrow for further inquiries.
Four persons, including steersman Victor Samuel and
Chief Inspector of Boats M Mathews, had been arrested in
connection with the September 30 incident.
All those who drowned were tourists from different
states including Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
(KTDC) chairman Cherian Philip said employees would not be
made scapegoats in the wake of allegations that authorities
were trying to put the blame on the steersman and two crew
members for the tragedy.
The steersman and two crew were suspended based on the
investigating agency's preliminary report that they were
partially responsible for allowing eight people to travel
without ticket, he said.