Sambalpur, Feb 9 :
In a major tragedy, at least 11 people died and more than 10 persons went missing when a motor boat carrying over 1o0 passengers capsized today near Pitapali inside the Hirakud reservoir, official reports said.
The mishap occurred around 4.30 pm today when the picnickers were returning in an overcrowded motor boat.
12 bodies had been fished out so far from the site of the accident until 11 pm.
The boat was carrying a large group of picnickers who were members of the Sambalpur Lions Club when the tragedy struck, sources said, adding, the boat’s capacity is 70 and it did not have basic safety measures like life-jackets.
Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra had earlier said thhat ten bodies had been recovered. He also expressed apprehension that the death toll could rise. The boat was carrying over 90 passengers when the mishap occurred, he added.
Eye-witness accounts suggest the passengers got panicky when the boat malfunctioned and water started to enter the boat from the bottom.
Many of them jumped out to get into two other boats travelling close to their boat. This led to the accident as the boat they were travelling in lost balance and capsized.
ODRAF and Fire Brigade teams engaged in rescue operation are in fact now looking for more bodies because at least 10 persons are reportedly still missing.