Kendrapara: At least one person was killed and eight others were missing when a country boat in which they were travelling capsized in a river in Odisha’s Kendrapara district today.
The deceased has been identified as Pravati Swain.
According to reports, the boat was carrying around 40 people, mostly women and children who had gone on a picnic, were returning, when the accident took place this evening.
The ill-fated boat capsized in Mahanadi River confluence near Nipania under Mahakalapada block in the district.
The passengers, all from Ratanpur village of Kujang Tehsil in Bhutamundai of Jagatsinghpur district had gone on a picnic to Bhitarkanika in Kendrapara district earlier in the day with their family members, reports added.
The boat overturned while it was reportedly ferrying the picnickers from Hukitola Lighthouse, locals said.
Meanwhile, a rescue operation has been launched to trace the missing persons. Firefighters and local fishermen were engaged in the rescue operation.
As many as 21 personnel divided into three teams joined the rescue work, Cuttack Fire Officer (Central Range), Bhabagrahi Ghadei, informed to the media.
Besides, a team of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) from Cuttack has been rushed to join the rescue operation, said Kendrapara Sub Collector Sanjay Kumar Mishra.
Though the exact reason behind boat capsize incident was yet to ascertained, initial reports suggested that over-crowding and poor condition of the boat were held responsible for the mishap.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his grief over the incident and directed officials to expedite the rescue operation to save the lives of passengers.
The CM has instructed Kendrapara district administration, Special Relief Commissioner and ODRAF to act immediately and locate the missing persons.
CM @Naveen_Odisha expressed grief at news of boat with picnickers capsizing in Bhitarkanika region; directed officials from @SRC_Odisha, District Authorities, #Odisha Fire Services to step up rescue & search operations; pray for safety of those affected.
— CMO Odisha (@CMO_Odisha) January 2, 2019