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Godavari boat tragedy: 4 more bodies found, 11 people still missing

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The Times Of India
06th October, 2019 04:39 IST

Rajahmundry: Two among the four bodies recovered recently were identified on Saturday. They are Ankem Pawan Kumar (50) and his wife Vasundhara Bhavani of Ramanthapur, Hyderabad. With this, the number of bodies identified has risen to 40 and 11 persons are still missing. Twenty-six people had survived the accident.

Four more bodies were recovered in the boat accident, which took place in the Godavari on September 15 at Kuchuluru in East Godavari district.

The first three dead bodies were found at the Bobbarlanka Bridge on Friday and the fourth body was found at the Dowleswaram Barrage.

Police revealed that among the first three bodies, one was highly-decomposed and beyond recognition. However, another body, that of a man, had several tattoos, including a scorpion on his left shoulder, a trident and a sun.

Police could identify the remnants of the clothes on the third body, that of a woman. She had a green topwear and a pair of leggings with black and white prints. Meanwhile, the fourth body, that of a man, which was recovered, was in a black and white check shirt and a pair of jeans.

All four bodies were handed over to Rajahmundry government hospital. East Godavari SP Adnan Nayeem Sami has asked relative of those whose loved ones are yet to be traced to contact inspector Rajani Kumar at 6305399834 in order to identify the remaining bodies.

Meanwhile, former Amalapuram MP GV Harsha Kumar has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court in connection with the accident. In his PIL he has stated that the state government has failed to find all the missing persons and retrieve the boat from the Godavari waters. Moreover there are different claims with regard to the number of passengers travelling in the boat at the time of accident. As per the district collector about 76 persons were travelling (65 passengers, eight crew members and three singers) in the boat. Whereas unofficial information available from the villagers is that 93 persons were travelling in the boat at the time of accident.

He observed that a combination of an inexperienced boat driver, lack of coordination between various departments, police and revenue officials failing to stop boats from sailing in flood situations which led to the tragedy .

With regard to the missing persons, he alleged that the government authorities were issuing death certificates for missing persons without finding the bodies.

He criticised the government of Andhra Pradesh for seeking help of Sri Balaji Marine company of Kakinada, a private firm to retrieve the boat, rather than that of Union ministry of shipping, Indian Navy and director general of shipping or any other expert agency.

He claimed that the private firm has been using conventional methods to retrieve the 18 tonne boat and hence has been hitherto unsuccessful.

Kumar appealed for the Supreme Court to intervene with regard to recovery of the missing dead bodies and the boat. He also appealed to the apex court to issue orders to the Centre as well as state governments to regulate boating activities across the country and frame guidelines for inland waterways.

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