Thekkady boat had defects: Shipping expert

Speaking to the media here after conducting tests of the ill-fated boat, K.S. Pyarelal said that it had come to light that the boat had tilted to the right side to the extent of 2.9 degrees.

"Under normal circumstances a properly engineered boat will not turn upside down if people crowd on to one side of the boat. Now the next test that has to be done is a centre of gravity test and for that the manufacturer of the boat and the official who certified the boat will have to come," said Pyarelal who is the head of the department of shipping at the Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The expert was called after the Crime Branch Sunday found out that the boat was overcrowded and also had inherent problems. The double-decker boat, owned by the state-run Kerala Tourism Development Corporation had capacity of 75 passengers but it was carrying 87 tourists that evening according to P.A. Valsan, the Crime branch police team leader who is investigating the tragedy.

The police have already arrested the boat driver and his assistant. Addressing reporters in the capital city at the first cabinet meeting after the tragedy, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the existing laws with regards to safety requirements to be maintained for boats would be amended and implemented soon.

"The cabinet will request the Kerala High Court to provide a sitting judge to probe the tragedy," said Achuthanandan.

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