One dead in Mumbai boat capsize; deceased got married just four months ago
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis calls the incident tragic and assures a thorough probe; announces financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to family of the deceased
A boat carrying some senior state government officials, political workers and journalists overturned after colliding with rocks in the Arabian Sea around 4.15 pm on Wednesday, Coast Guard (CG) officials said yesterday, adding that the incident happened after another boat carrying Chief Secretary D K Jain had reached the venue. Of the 22 onboard, all were rescued and brought ashore, barring one — a worker of Shiv Sangram party, Siddhesh Pawar. The Mumbai-born 26-year-old had got married just four months ago and didn't know how to swim, said officials. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called the incident tragic and assured a thorough probe.
Tragedy at sea
The boat — Manas 3 — that belongs to the state government hit rocks en route to the site of the proposed Shivaji memorial, where work was to begin yesterday. The event was cancelled and several agencies — fire brigade, police, CG, Navy, 108 ambulance —mobilised. The CG immediately launched an air cushion vehicle (a helicopter), which reached the spot in 15 minutes, while the police launched their boats, which towed the boat to land.
Eyewitness at the spot said had the rescue boats had not arrived fast, everyone would have drowned. Vinayak Mete of Shiv Sangram party said, "The boat was on its way to the proposed memorial site when it crashed into something." State education minister Vinod Tawde said, "An investigation will be conducted into the cause."
Blame game ensues
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan said he suspected sabotage. "Vinayak Mete [political head of Shivaji Memorial Committee] had alleged corruption in the memorial work. Is this an attempt to maim Mete?" he said. BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye, however, dismissed Chavan's allegation and said the Opposition had dug out a dead issue, revolving around an old letter written by Mete to Fadnavis.
Activists bring back Shivaji's bust after a speedboat carrying media persons and government officials overturned when they were on their way for a puja at the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea
MLC asks questions
PWP's MLC Jayant Patil, whose company is into shipping and passenger water transport, questioned why a fibre boat was used in a rocky waterway. He also alleged that the boat didn't have a licence to ferry passengers. Patil's company sent its boats to rescue and ferry the survivors after being alerted by government officials. He said stronger boats built for wading through tougher waterways were available and yet not used. "A fibre boat can only be used in creeks," he added.
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