Kakinada: Navy teams identified the probable location of the ‘Royal Vashishta’ that capsized in the Godavari on Sunday, even as hopes faded for the missing persons. Using sonar scanners, they located the boat lying at a depth of between 250 and 300 feet, sources said.
Officials were examining various methods to salvage the boat. It is learnt that the state government has sought the help of experts from Gujarat and other states for the purpose. At normal times, the river has a depth of about 250 feet at Kachuluru Manda where the boat sank. Due to the floods, the river is running 375 feet deep.
During the day, the rescue personnel could not trace any of the missing persons and the toll stayed unchanged from Sunday.
The search and rescue operations were disrupted on Monday evening due to heavy rain at Devipatnam. Rampachodavaram sub-collector B. Srinivasa Rao said that it was not possible to continue the search operations in the bad weather and put it off to Tuesday.
Two helicopters had been drafted into the search operation while teams of SDRF, NDRF and fire department teams are searching for the missing persons.
Mr Muralidhar Reddy told Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy who visited the site that the help of fishermen was being taken for the rescue operations.
Earlier in the day, Mr Reddy expressed concern that a tragedy of such proportions could take place. He said there was no proper monitoring of the movement of boats on the river despite floods.
Mr Reddy, who conducted an aerial survey of the mishap site along with TS minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao and met survivors in the hospital, appointed a committee to formulate rules and guidelines to set up control rooms to monitor boats, conduct periodic checkups of boats and fix safe water levels to operate boats.
At a review meeting at the sub-collector's office in Rajahmundry, Mr Reddy said that 5.30 lakh cusecs of water was flowing and the first warning is issued when the Godavari receives 10 lakh cusecs. The water resources department should formulate guidelines to prevent such incidents in the future, he said.
He asked the officials to rework guidelines for boat operations. He said that the panel should submit its report within three weeks and implement it in six months.
Hyderabadi pushes his wife out of harm’s way
There are heartrending stories of the people who survived Sunday’s boat disaster and who are living through the agony of having lost a wife, husband or child.
“Why should I live now?” a distraught Madhulatha asked Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who met her in Rajahmundry Government Hospital on Monday. She lost her husband D. Subrahmanyam and 12-year-old daughter Asini in the accident.
The three of them were locked in a tight embrace as the boat began sinking and once in the water, her husband pushed Ms Madhulatha away with his hands and towards the shore and safety, with her daughter clinging to her feet. She managed to get ashore but both her daughter and husband drowned.
She told Mr Reddy that her husband was a supporter of his. The Chief Minister consoled her and urged her to be courageous in this difficult situation.
Mr Ch. Janaki Rama Rao of Hyderabad survived with a fractured wrist but lost his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
He survived because he was expert in the ‘savasana’ type of yoga exercise which helped him stay afloat.
He bemoaned his fate and Mr Reddy instructed officials to take care of him and render all medical assistance.
Mr B. Dasaratham of Warangal Rural district told how he along with 14 persons climbed into the boat. Five survived and nine are missing. Mr Reddy met all the 18 people who are getting treatment at the hospital....