A sightseeing boat has capsized on a swollen river in southern India, killing 12 people and leaving 35 others missing, a senior official says.
Andhra Pradesh state’s home minister, Mekathoti Sucharita, said there were 61 people – 50 passengers and 11 crew members, all of them Indian nationals – on board the boat when it capsized on the Godavari river.
A search operation was under way to try to find the missing people.
Fourteen people who were wearing life jackets were rescued by local fishermen, Ms Sucharita said.
The accident occurred near Kachuluru village in East Godavari district, 380 kilometres east of the state’s capital, Hyderabad.
The boat was heading from Singanapalli to Papikondalu, a famous tourist spot.
"We were given life jackets. Some of us took them off as it was too hot. It was around 1:30 pm and they said lunch would be served so even I took off my life jacket. Five of us came from Hyderabad", Godavari boat mishap survivor. pic.twitter.com/eyAJNG6GGD
— Priyanka Richi (@priya_richi) September 15, 2019
Ms Sucharita said tour boats had been barred from operating on the route following the recent flooding of the river and it was not clear how the boat that capsized had managed to take out the tourists.
“Stern action will be taken against the culprits,” Ms Sucharita said.
Apart from tourists, residents in the area depend on boats and ferries to travel between villages on the banks of the Godavari.
Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 15, 2019
In May 2018, 30 people were killed when a similar boat carrying local people capsized not far from the scene of Sunday’s accident.
A few months later, a boat carrying 80 tourists caught fire when a cooking gas cylinder exploded, but there were no casualties.