36 missing as boat capsizes in Godavari river

AP CM directs officials to send rescue teams to accident site

The rescue operation is being carried out jointly by National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and Eastern Naval Command.

Congress Minister Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "I'm deeply anguished by the tragic loss of innocent lives in the boat capsize on the Godavari River".

About 20 people swam to safety Tuesday evening after the ferry flipped on the Godavari River but others, including a group traveling to a wedding, remained unaccounted for.

The launch, found at a depth of 60 feet barely 100 metres from the shore near a tribal hamlet named Varapalli, was salvaged with the help of a crane and boats.

They were headed to the scenic Papikondalu, or "Papi Hills" in the West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

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However, there was no clarity on the exact number of people missing with conflicting claims made by government authorities. He said the government would provide jobs to one member each from the families of the victims and would also make arrangements for free education for their children.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu visited the spot to oversee rescue efforts.

Naidu also asserted that the boat was inspected by officials before it took off. Locals suspected that huge wind turned the boat around causing in its sinking. They had locked the windows and door to escape the rain and had no chance to come out when the boat tilted and capsized suddenly.

When TNM asked ASP Ajitha about the incident, she said, "All of them aren't from the same village but are from villages across the river bank". YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan expressed their shock.

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