RAJAHMUNDRY: Twelve bodies have been salvaged from the launch which capsized in the Godavari due to strong winds on Tuesday evening. As many as 44 persons were travelling in the launch.

According to the latest information, 22 passengers were rescued. There were 26 men, 12 women and six children on the launch when it capsized.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu arrived at Polavaram in West Godavari in a copter and he proceeded to Vadapalli by road and inspected the rescue operations. The CM consoled the family members of the deceased.

“It is unfortunate that such a mishap occurred claiming several lives. It is pitiable condition that four persons got killed from one family and it is painful to see the kids crying for their parents.

Though heavy gales played a role in the mishap, the boat owner and his staff are allegedly at fault as they failed to rescue the passengers when the launch was sinking,” Mr Naidu said.

The Chief Minister said the doors and windows of the launch were locked from inside to avoid high velocity gales and rainfall. When the launch tilted, those sitting on the upper deck jumped into the river and were rescued by locals. The others were unable to come out and drowned, Mr Naidu said.

With regard to rescue operation, a heavy duty crane and an earth mover were brought from Polavaram and pressed in to service. Divers went down to the bottom of the river bed and tied ropes to the capsized boat while the personnel on the shore pulled the ropes, with their bare hands, and recovered some trapped bodies inside.

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