Vijayawada: Bodies of two children were retrieved from Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday as a search was on for others who went missing after a launch capsized the previous evening. Personnel from the Indian Navy traced the launch which is said to be at a depth of 60 feet. Rescue workers were trying to pull out the launch, an official said.
The teams from the Navy, state disaster management department and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were engaged in the rescue operations with the help of Navy helicopters. They were mobilising heavy cranes near the shores to retrieve the launch that capsized on Tuesday.
East Godavari District Collector Karthikeya Mishra told reporters at the scene that since the launch was stuck in the sand, the rescue workers were making efforts to tie the rope to the railing to pull it horizontally. The rescue work, halted late on Tuesday due to bad weather, resumed early on Wednesday.
Confusion prevails over the number of missing. The district officials on Wednesday put the number at 18. A police official said on Tuesday that 10 persons were on board when it capsized. Locals claim that nearly 50 people were on board and 10 swam to safety. The incident occurred near Manturu in Devipatnam block of East Godavari district around 5 p.m.
The boat, which sailed from Kondamodalu, was on its way Rajamahendravaram. It is believed to have capsized due to gusty winds. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directed the officials to undertake rescue operations on a war footing.
The incident came close on the heels of a boat with over 100 tourists catching fire in the Godavari river in the same district on May 11. The passengers had a narrow escape as the driver wheeled the boat to the shore and they jumped off before the entire boat was completely destroyed.