14 feared drowned in Andhra Pradesh boat mishap


At least 16 people, including women and children, died Sunday after a boat packed with 38 passengers capsized in a river in southern India, police said.

The passengers were travelling to Pavitra Sangamam to see a daily ritual when the boat lost its balance. According to IANS, there were 38 tourists on the boat belonging to a private operator.

Reports said that 15 persons were rescued by local fishermen and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were pressed into service to trace the missing persons, a senior police official said.

So far five bodies have been recovered.

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The boat's carrying capacity is 24 people.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is for Kerala visit, spoke with Krishna district Collector B Lakshmikantham and DGP N Samba Shiva Rao and directed them to rush to the spot and intensify operation.

Most of the passengers were said to be members of the Ongole Walkers Club in Prakasam district while some were from Nellore who were on a visit to Vijayawada.

The tourism department of Andhra Pradesh had given permission for private agencies to operate boats to Bhavani Island regularly. Bad light is believed to have hampered rescue operations.