VIJAYAWADA : At least 16 tourists, including nine women and two children, were killed and eight others went missing as a boat capsized in the Krishna river near here, in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district on Sunday, officials said. The boat overturned at Ibrahimpatnam Ferry Ghat around 5.20 p.m. There were 41 tourists on board belonging to a private operator and returning from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangam, or holy confluence of Krishna and Godavari rivers.
Locals and rescue workers rescued 15 people. Krishna District Collector B. Lakshmikantham said nine persons were admitted to hospitals. The condition of one of the injured is stated to be critical.
Home Minister N. Chinnarajappa, who rushed to the site, said 16 bodies had been recovered while the search was on for the missing.
The National Disaster Response Force personnel joined divers in the rescue operation, which was hampered due to the darkness after sunset.
The tourists, most of them hailing from Ongole town in Prakasam district of the state, were returning to Pavitra Sangam for performing some religious rituals at the end of their day-long trip to Bhavani Island.
Chinnarajappa said 32 members of the Ongole Walkers' Club were among those on board. He announced Rs 8 lakh compensation each to the families of the deceased.
Overload is believed to be the cause of the accident, he said, adding that the private company also did not have permission to operate the boat.
Survivors said they boarded the private boat as the boats of the Tourism Department were not available. They also complained that there were no life jackets on the boat.
The District Collector said a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was booked against the company operating the boat.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has expressed shock over the accident and ordered a probe by a senior police officer.
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