Visakhapatnam: Dharmadi Satyam, whose Kakinada-based Balaji Marines firm was entrusted with the task of salvaging the Royal Vasishta Boat, has begun their operations on Monday to retrieve the ill-fated boat from the Godavari River with the help of Golla Venkata Sive, an expert in the field.
The boat, with 77 tourists on board on its way to Papikondalu, capsized near Kachaluru in East Godavari district on September 15. While 26 tourists were rescued, 36 lost their lives and the remaining 15 persons are yet to be found.
Balaji and his crew of 25 went to the spot where the boat had sunk and used an anchor to hook the sunken boat. If the hook clips object, they will pull the boat out from the waters using cables which are connected to the pulleys attached to the excavator.
Speaking to newsmen, Balaji said that they will retrieve the boat as some progress has been observed in their operations. As there is some risk in this operation, we are using only traditional equipment, he added.
East Godavari Collector, Muralidhar Reddy said that several teams including the Indian Navy, NDRF, SDRF and marine experts from Mumbai and Chhattisgarh have tried to retrieve the boat, but were unsuccessful. We are hoping that Balaji Marines will be able to retrieve the sunken boat and the government has also allocated Rs 22.7 lakh to Balaji Marines for the salvage operation, he added.
The Godavari flood water levels are gradually increasing due to rain in the upper region of the river.
The East Godavari Police are monitoring the operations and have taken all measures, including not allowing the public to watch the operation, to prevent any possible untoward incidents.
The relatives of the remaining 15 missing persons in the boat tragedy are waiting for their dead bodies, which are allegedly trapped inside the sunken boat. A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that since the incident took place on September 15, almost all the 15 bodies might be decomposed in the boat by now. It is difficult to retrieve the 15 bodies unless we retrieve the sunken boat, he added.