Odisha boat capsize toll rises to 8, govt ends search operation

20 April,2024 10:02 PM IST |  Bhubaneswar  |  PTI

The search operation, which had been ongoing since Friday evening, came to an end after the recovery of a male child`s body from Hirakud reservoir in the Mahanadi river

Representational Image

The toll in the Mahanadi river boat capsize in Odisha's Jharsuguda district rose to eight with the recovery of six more bodies on Saturday, an official said on Saturday.

The search operation, which had been ongoing since Friday evening, came to an end after the recovery of a male child's body from Hirakud reservoir in the Mahanadi river, the official said, adding that among the victims were five women and three children.

The deceased, all hailing from Anjoripali village of Kharsia in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh, were identified as Radhika Nishad (40), Teras Bai Rathia (60), Radhika Rathia (35), Ghasneen Bai Rathia (40), and Lacchinin Bai Rathia (40), while the children were identified as Kunal Rathia (9), Nabin Rathia (7), and Tikeswar Rathia (7).

Personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and Fire Services, who launched a search operation immediately after the boat capsized on Friday, recovered six more bodies from the Mahanadi river by engaging five scuba divers, an official said.

"Five scuba divers fitted with underwater cameras in their headgear joined the search operation and spotted the bodies," the official said.

Revenue division commissioner (RDC) Srikanta Prusty, Jharsuguda district collector Aboli S Naravane and SP Smit P Parmar were camping by the river bank to supervise the search operation.

The incident occurred on Friday afternoon when around 50 passengers were returning in the boat after visiting a temple in Patharseni Kuda in Odisha's Bargarh district. The boat capsized as it was about to reach Sarada Ghat in Rengali area in Jharsuguda, a police officer said.

Rajkumar Gavel, an official from Chhattisgarh government, said around 50 people were returning after a picnic from other side of the river when the mishap took place.

Loknath Meher, the Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) of Jharsuguda district, said, "The boat lacked registration and was deemed unfit to operate. Additionally, it did not have any life jackets onboard. Despite being designed to accommodate only 20 people, it carried 50 people, ultimately resulting in the mishap."

Local fishermen rescued 40 passengers and brought them to the bank, he said.

Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh administration has made arrangements for the transportation of bodies, sources said.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik conveyed his condolences and declared an ex gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased.

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