Three people, including a girl, were killed after a mechanised boat carrying nearly 40 people capsized in the River Brahmaputra in Guwahati on Wednesday afternoon.
One of the dead was Ankita Baruah, a student of Cotton State University in Guwahati. She died on way to the hospital after being rescued, while four others of the institute who were also in the boat are missing, the Kamrup deputy commissioner Kamal Kumar Baishya told PTI.
According to the latest reports, at least 16 people have been rescued so far while 27 others are missing. The accident occurred between 1 and 2 pm when a country-made ferry boat overturned after colliding with the pillars erected to lay hume pipes near Ashwaklanta Temple in the Brahmaputra river.
The state and National Disaster Response Force teams are present at the site and the relief and rescue operations are underway. Kamrup Metro district collector, Virendra Mittal was also present at the spot.
The overcrowded boat was on its way to Madhyam Khanda in north Guwahati from the main city. According to PTI, only 22 passengers had valid tickets and the boat was overcrowded, with 18 motorcycles on it. According to eyewitnesses, there were several women and children among the passengers.
The Brahmaputra is in spate due to monsoon rains in the upper reaches of Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the situation tensed up in north Guwahati following the mishap. An angry crowd has surrounded the employees of the Inland Waterways Department.
According to News18 Assam, the people have been complaining about the lack of facilities and the safety hazards people faced during everyday's waterway commute, but apparently, no action was taken. People blamed the authorities for ignoring their complaints and alleged that the department's apathy ultimately led to the mishap in which several people are feared dead.
The rescue operations have been suspended for the night due to low visibility and will resume on Thursday morning, officials said.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has instituted a high-level inquiry into the capsize and it will be headed by Additional Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah.
The district administration has opened helplines with numbers — 0361-2733052 and 0361-2684407 — for information regarding the capsize.
The Inland Water Transport has temporarily suspended plying of country boats on the Brahmaputra, officials added.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Sep 05, 2018 20:14 PM