Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Dhenkanal, Mar 8:
The death toll in the Dhenkanal boat capsize incident rose to four this evening, while two passengers continue to be missing.
While an 18 year old girl Rubina Rout of Surapratapur village of Bhuban block died at the hospital last night, three more bodies were recovered from various ghats of Brahmani today.
Two of the deceased have been identified as Kalia Mohanty (13) of Surapratappur and Satya Narayan Swain (9). Satya’s body was recovered from Chitalpur ghat of Bhuban early this morning. Fire Department personnel this evening recovered the third body from Bhusala ghat.
Two more people are still missing.
Search and rescue missions are on by two ODRAF teams and local Fire Department personnel.
The rower of the boat is on the run following the incident.
While the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained, District Collector Roopa Roshan Sahoo attributed it to over-capacity and prior damages in the boat based on preliminary investigation.
“The boat is a fisherman boat. It also had defects. The rower had refused to ferry the passengers, however, they insisted him to go. It was also loaded beyond capacity which led to the incident. We have deployed two ODRAF teams to carry out search and rescue mission. More teams would be roped in, if the existing teams ask for support,” said Collector Sahoo.
Notably, the incident occurred late Monday evening after 30-35 villagers of Surapratappur village boarded a country boat and were travelling to Lord Daudeswar’s shrine in Gondia block of the same district to witness Jagar mela (Shivaratri celebrations). The boat capsized in river Brahmani at Chandipal ghat under Bhuban block in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district.
While many managed to swim ashore, six went missing and later two of them were rescued in critical condition. Out of the two Rubina succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the district administration to carry out search and rescue missions on a war footing. On the other hand, SRC today ordered the district collector to probe into the incident and submit its report. State Government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the family of the deceased.