Around 16:30 (11:00 GMT) on Wednesday a boat from Jorhat in Assam collided with another coming from the opposite direction. The boat that was carrying 90 passengers turned over in the Brahmaputra river. The boat was also holding four-wheelers and two-wheelers. The other vessel was coming from northeast India too. The private country boat was travelling from Majuli island to Nimatighat in Assam’s Jorhat district. It sank after clashing with the other vessel.
The motorized boat was named “Ma Kamala” and the ferry was called the “Tripkai”.
It is a daily routine for such boats to travel and these private boats do not issue tickets. Therefore keeping a track of the number of passengers has been tough for the authorities. While it is believed there were 90 passengers, there could be more due to lack of record.
The missing reports have been filed and one casualty reported. The deceased was brought to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital however she passed away.The victim, Paramita Das hailing from Guwahati was a new teacher in Majuli. Ankur Jain a Police Superintendent said “we rescued a lot of people with the help of locals and other disaster response forces, we rescued one more girl during the operations but she couldn’t make it. So far, there has been one confirmed death.”
The CM of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has provided valuable details about the tragic boat accident. The divers at the scene found the wrecked boat 200 meters downstream but according to Sarma the divers due to strong currents were unable to look inside the boat for any stuck people. However, a thorough investigation will take place with the help of experts from the search operations department.
The CM also visited the Nimati Ghat. After a tour, he proposed the ban of single-engine private boats. He added that the state government will provide subsidies for the purchase of marine engines.
According to the BBC, the Indian Army has joined the rescue operation. Earlier the search teams working at the collision site were from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Since the accident could be avoided if the boats were told beforehand about the vehicles in the water, the Assam Government for the negligence of duty has suspended some people. These include executive engineers from the Dibrugarh division and an assistant executive engineer and junior engineer from the Jorhat sub-division.
Previously the number of missing people was unknown but has narrowed down to 2. The two missing persons reportedly belong to Jorhat and Lakhimpur. 87 people have been rescued out of which seven were children. The youngest survivor is a three-month-old infant.
In his tweet, PM Narendra Modi expressed, “Saddened by the boat accident in Assam. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the passengers.
I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.”The President too tweeted about his sorrow,”My thoughts go out to the victims, survivors and their families. Rescue and relief efforts are on to save as many lives as possible”.