Death toll rises to 26 in Godavari boat tragedy, search continues

Visakhapatnam : Eighteen more bodies have been found by search and rescue personnel of the State and National Disaster Response Forces, two days after the deadly boat accident in Godavari River near Devipatnam Mandal of East Godavari district.

Speaking to reporters, Tourism Minister M Srinivasa Rao said that 26 bodies (8 bodies were found on Sunday and 18 on Tuesday) have been recovered. The search continues to retrieve the remaining victims of the tourist boat that capsised near Katchuluru village on Sunday afternoon.

The boat (Royal Vasishta) was transporting 71 passengers to the picturesque Papikondalu when it capsised in Godavari river on Sunday. The local populace was able to rescue 26 individuals, and the remaining 45 are feared drowned in the incident, Minister Rao added. NDRF and SDRF authorities mentioned that some bodies were found floating on the river near the accident site, while some were found near Dhavaleswaram on Tuesday. The search party, consisting of over 200 men, are rigorously trying to retrieve and identify the remaining bodies.

The Tourism Minister said that their top priority is to find the remaining bodies and hand them over to relatives. The ill-fated boat was located at a depth of 315 feet in the river, and officials assume that some victims could be trapped in it, he added.

Director-General of Police, Gautam Sawang, who is monitoring the search and rescue operations, said that a case had been registered against the boat owner. He added that an investigation is ongoing to register cases against a few others for running the boat despite knowing that the river has been in spate for the past few days.

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