Guntur: Twenty-one people drowned in the Krishna River after an overcrowded boat capsized near the Ibrahimpatnam Ferry in Krishna district on Sunday.
The private boat was travelling from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangamam at the time of the incident.
According to reports, the boat, which had 38 people on board, overturned when trying to manoeuvre towards Pavitra Sangamam after leaving the ferry.
Members of the Ongole Walkers Club had travelled to old Amaravati to take an auspicious Karthika dip in the Krishna River and perform pujas at the ancient Amareswara Temple. They had travelled to Bhavani Island by an AP Tourism Development Corporation boat. In the evening, they decided to go to Pavitra Sangamam. They inquired with the APTDC regarding the availability of a boat, but were told that the boat service had been stopped due to poor light in the evening. The group then contacted Simple Water Sports and requested a boat. The driver of the boat agreed to take them to Pavithra Sangamam at a cost of Rs 300 per head.
Driver supplied only 15 life jackets: Survivors
The survivors alleged that they had asked driver for life jackets for everyone on board, but he had only supplied them with 15 life jackets saying that they would not need them while travelling in a modern boat.
The boat began shaking while attempting to turn towards Pavitra Sangamam after leaving the Ferry and subsequently turned turtle, trapping the passengers underneath it.
Those who had life jackets on were able to escape with some help from local fishermen. A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the spot and launched a rescue operation.
Sixty members of the NDRF and 60 members of fire department with 12 boats participated in the rescue operation. They were able to save 17 persons.
Gowtham Sawang, the police commissioner of Vijayawada, and other officials rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue operation using high-power flashlights.
The bodies of Ch Parvathi, Prasad Kumar Reddy, Bindu Sree, Anjamma, Sujatha, Venkateswarlu and Dr Seetaramaiah have been identified. The police is trying to identify the other victims....