103 die as boat capsizes in Assam; 200 missing

103 die as boat capsizes in Assam; 200 missing

103 die as boat capsizes in Assam; 200 missing

In one of the worst midstream tragedies in Assam, around 103 people died and 200 missing after a steamer with over 300 passengers on board capsized in the Brahmaputra river here on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita said the bodies of 103 victims, including women and children, were recovered by the BSF and the National Disaster Force personnel near Jaleswar. He said about 25 people swam to safety after the double-decked ferry, while crossing the river from Dhubrighat, was caught in a storm and capsized around 4:20 pm.

The bodies of the victims were kept at Dhubri Civil Hospital, Kalita said. The fate of the remaining passengers was not immediately known. The steamer had left the Dhubri ferry ghat for Medartary in the south bank of the district in the evening.

The Army, BSF’s water wing, National Disaster Force and police armed with mechanised boats have launched a massive rescue operation in the river but darkness and inclement weather have hindered rescue operations.

President Pratibha Patil expressed grief over the mishap while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to convey his condolences. Singh assured the state government of “all possible assistance in relief operations and also for assistance from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to the families of the deceased,” said a statement issued by PMO.

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