On the evening of May 7, tragedy struck when a tourist boat capsized at Thooval Theeram, Ottumpuram in Malappuram which has claimed 22 lives so far. However, certain reports have claimed that the death toll is 21.
The exact number of passengers onboard is yet to be determined, but locals and survivors claim that at least 35 persons, including families with children, were on the boat. The capacity of the boat has also not been determined yet, stated a report in Manorama.
As of 2 am, the identities of nine deceased individuals have been confirmed: Asna (18), Safna (7), Fatima Minha (12), Siddique (35), Jalasiya Jabir (40), Aflah (7), Faisal (3), Anshid, and Rasheena. The remaining deceased persons' identities are yet to be known.
Eight deaths were confirmed at the Tirurangadi Taluk Hospital. At least 8 persons are admitted to the MIMS Hospital at Kottakal, of whom four are on ventilator support. Others are being treated at hospitals in Tirur, Tanur, and Kozhikode.
The services of the Navy, Coast Guard, and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been sought to aid in the rescue mission.
According to a survivor identified as Shafeeq, the boat was a double-decker with two doors. The tragedy occurred half a kilometer into the river, and many families with small children were onboard. Shafeeq, a rescuer, managed to save a few people, but those in the lower deck, particularly the children, were stuck.
The boat was reportedly overcrowded, and adequate life-saving equipment was not onboard, according to locals. Tanur Municipality Councillor PP Musthafa has stated that recreational boat services are only permitted to operate until 5 pm.
Last month, Kerala's first floating bridge was inaugurated at Thooval Theeram by Tourism Minister PA Muhammad Riyas and V Abdurahiman. The location is closer to the sea.
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