14 drown as boat capsizes in Krishna river

Vijayawada 16 dead seven missing as boat capsizes

Tourism Secretary Mukesh Kumar Meena said the boat belonged to a private company, River Boat Adventures, which had permission to operate only two small boats - a 2-seater and a 4-seater.

Gowtham Sawang, the police commissioner of Vijayawada, and other officials rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue operation using high-power flashlights.

The passengers were making a trip from Punnami Ghat in Bhavanipuram to Pavitra Sangamam in Ferry village when the vessel capsized, PTI quoted an official as saying.

According to reports, the boat, which had 38 people on board, overturned when trying to manoeuvre towards Pavitra Sangamam after leaving the ferry.

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"According to preliminary investigation, the private agency which was operating the boat did not have a licence from the tourism department", he said.

Local fishermen at Ferry swung into action immediately and rescued 15 passengers. Home minister N Chinna Rajappa announced at 8.30 pm that 16 dead bodies were retrieved till now.

Addressing the media, the police said that rescue operations were on by the Vijayawada City Police and the National Disaster Rescue Force. However, locals allege that many boats do not have sufficient number of life jackets and carry more passengers than their sanctioned capacity.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has expressed shock over the accident and ordered a probe by a senior police officer.

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