At least 22 killed when tourist boat capsizes

Adeyemi Adeyemi
Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant 2023-05-08 09:31:19

The incident took place in Tanur, a coastal town in the Malappuram district of Kerala, and rescue operations are underway.

At least 22 people have died after a double-decker bus capsized off the coastal town of Tanur in Malappuram district in India’s southern state of Kerala, local authorities said.

The boat, which was carrying about 40 incoming passengers, overturned around 7pm local time (1:30pm GMT) on Sunday night because it was overcrowded, said Abdul Nazar, the junior superintendent of police of Malappuram district.

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“We recovered 22 bodies, including women and children. The rescue operation is still ongoing,” Moosa Vadakkethil, a senior firefighter in Malappuram, said on Monday.

It was not clear what caused the tourist boat to capsize near Thooval Theeram beach in Tanur.

State Minister of Sports and Fisheries V Abdurahiman, who helped coordinate rescue efforts, said most of the victims were children during school holidays.

The death toll was likely to rise as the boat got stuck in muddy water and was pulled back to rescue those trapped, Abdurahiman told reporters on Sunday night.

“Pained by the loss of life due to the boat accident in Malappuram, Kerala,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.

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The state’s chief minister, who will visit the area later on Monday, took to Twitter to express his condolences to the families of the victims and urged district authorities to monitor the rescue.

Monday has been declared a day of official mourning, the Press Trust of India news agency reported, citing a government statement.

Survivors claimed the boat was overcrowded and most of the passengers were without life jackets, according to Indian media reports. The boat also reportedly lacked a safety certificate, the NDTV website said in its report.

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Police have filed a culpable homicide against the owner of the boat, local reports said.

Boating accidents are common in India, where many ships are overcrowded and lack safety equipment.

In September 2020, 12 people drowned when a tour boat capsized on the swollen Godavari River in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

In May 2018, 30 people were killed in the same region when a boat capsized.

At least 22 killed when tourist boat capsizes

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