Twelve killed in Odisha boat tragedy

Twelve killed in Odisha boat tragedy

Twelve people were killed when a motorboat carrying more than 90 passengers capsized inside the Hirakud reservoir on Mahanadi river near Sambalpur town in western Odisha Sambalpur district on Sunday evening.

The death toll is expected to go up, as around 7-10 more people are still missing, said official sources.

A search operation had been initiated to search for these people. According to state Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradipta Mohapatra, majority of the passengers in the ill-fated boat belonged to a picnic party.

Overload

“The boat was overloaded with passengers, majority of whom belonged to the local Lion’s Club in Sambalpur, and had gone for a picnic,” said Mohapatra, adding that the 10 bodies had already been recovered and identified.

The deceased included a few women and a child. The SRC said a rescue operation had already been launched by the local fire brigade and a unit of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) stationed in Sambalpur.

“The Sambalpur District Collector and other senior officials are on the spot supervising the rescue operation,” said Mohapatra.

The senior official informed that the ODRAF team had already been asked to use divers to search for the missing persons on Monday morning, if necessary.

Though Mohapatra said only 7-10 people were still missing, unofficial sources claimed nearly 40 passengers in the ill-fated motorboat were yet to be found. 

Picnic spots

The Hirakud reservoir, which happens to be the biggest dam in the state, has a number of smaller islands inside it. People regularly visit these islands for picnics.

There is also a wildlife sanctuary on the other side of the reservoir and visitors often cross the reservoir by boat to visit the sanctuary.

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