RAJAHMUNDRY: After 38 days of agonising wait, the ill-fated Royal Vasistha boat, which capsized in river Godavari at Kachuluru in Devipatnam mandal of East Godavari district on September 15, has finally been retrieved. Seven bodies were also recovered from the wrecked boat. Another five bodies are to be traced from the river.
It may be recalled that 77 persons were on the tourist boat when it was drowned. While 26 people were rescued, 46 bodies have been recovered till now, including the seven found on the retrieved boat on Tuesday. The highly decomposed bodies, which were found in the air-conditioned chamber of the boat, have been shifted to Rajahmundry government hospital for post-mortem and DNA sampling. Meanwhile, the search operation will continue to trace the remaining five bodies.
Dharmadi Satyam’s 25-member team from Kakinada, which was handed over the responsibility of retrieving the boat, finally managed to successfully pull it out from the river depths after failing in their first two attempts. Satyam’s team hired 10 divers from Visakhapatnam to hook the anchor to the boat. The vessel’s railing was pulled out two days back while the upper deck was retrieved on Monday. On Tuesday, the iron rope was hooked to the strongest part of the boat following which it was pulled out.
Meanwhile, the relatives of those still missing have arrived in Rajahmundry and Kachuluru to identify and take back the mortal remains of their loved ones. Ramya Sri, who worked as a sub-engineer with Northern Power Distribution Corporation Limited (NPDCL), was among whose bodies are yet to be recovered. Her family members conducted her funeral rites on the 11th day of the boat tragedy on the banks of Godavari in Rajahmundry.
Talking to TOI, East Godavari SP Adnan Nayeem Asmi said seven bodies have been recovered from the boat and have been shifted to Rajahmundry government hospital. “We will search the boat again on Wednesday to check if there are any more bodies lying anywhere,” he said.