Boat capsized in Brahmaputra: Tragedy paralysed life

GUWAHATI: A 12-hour local bandh called by a joint committee of various organisations in North Guwahati since Friday morning against Wednesday afternoon’s boat tragedy has paralysed life in the area even as a huge search party comprising personnel of Indian Army, Indian Navy, the NDRF and SDRF resumed search operation on Brahmaputra River since morning for the third day.

The big Army search party has five officers, seven JCOs and 70 other personnel.  Thursday’s search operation failed to fish out any victims of the boat tragedy.  Four persons including two girl students were killed and 19 others rescued alive after the boat mishap on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, authorities have arrested the owner of the private motorboat, Kamal Das, which met with accident on Brahmaputra river of Wednesday afternoon.

Three persons drowned and at least 11 others are missing after an overloaded motorised country boat capsized in the Brahmaputra river near here after hitting a rock on Wednesday.

Ten passengers have been rescued, while 12 others managed to swim to safety, Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kamal Kumar Baishya said.

The boat with 36 passengers was on its way to north Guwahati in Kamrup district across the river from Fancy Bazar ferry ghat here when its engine developed a developed a technical snag around 2 pm and hit a rock near the bank of Ashwaklanta Temple, he said.

The boat was carrying 18 motorcycles illegally and only 22 passengers on board had valid tickets, Baishya, who is supervising the rescue operations at the site, said.

The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been pressed into service and the body of two persons, including a girl student of Cotton State University was fished out, he said.

One girl student of the university died on way to the hospital after being rescued, while four others of the institute who were also in the boat are missing, the deputy commissioner said.

The SDRF and NDRF personnel rescued ten passengers of the boat who had managed to cling to posts of a water supply project being constructed on the river and 12 others swam to safety, he said.

According to the passengers rescued, there were more than 40 people in the boat, including women and children.

The rescue operations have been suspended for the night due to low visibility and will resume tomorrow morning, officials said.

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