Wednesday evening turned out to be a black night for picnickers capsizing in Bhitarkanika region as the boat came under a tragic accident. Ten persons, including eight children, had boarded a fishing boat capsized near Nipania village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district on Wednesday evening. The death toll mounted to nine on Thursday as eight more bodies were recovered in the search operation.
“While the body of a woman was found shortly after the incident took place Wednesday evening, eight bodies were recovered during a search operation in the early hours of Thursday, while one person is still missing”, Kendrapara district Collector Dasarathy Satpathy told the press.
The victims belonged to Hasina village in Kujang area of Jagatsinghpur district. Nearly 55 persons, of 17 families belonging to Hasina village had come to Hukitola for a New Year picnic. The victims were returning via Mahanadi River after the picnic at the Light House at Hukitola when the mechanised boat lost balance and capsized in Batighar creek under the jurisdiction of Mahakalpada police station.
“Fire brigade personnel and members of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), along with Coast Guard teams and local fishermen, carried out the rescue and search operations”, Satpathy added in his statement.
Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik had instructed the administration and a search team to expedite rescue operations immediately on Wednesday night. On Thursday, he announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and free treatment for the injured, expressing deep grief about the accident.