The Andhra Pradesh ship tragedy: a daunting task to locate missing people, officials say

DEVIPATNAM (): It is said that Katchuluru, where the tragedy of the Royal Vasista ship occurred on the Godavari River on Sunday, is the most precarious point in that part of Godavari, since it measures a depth of almost 250 feet.

According to the locals, the fateful tragedy of Sunday is the third accident in the same place in the last 50 years. A ship called Udaya Bhaskar overturned in the same place in 1964, causing the death of 60 passengers.

Another ship, called Jhansi Rani, had the same destination in the 1980s in the same place and 8 passengers died.

A rural boat carrying almost 40 passengers overturned in the town of Pasuvullanka, just a few kilometers from Katchuluru, in the East Godavari district, in May 2018, after it hit a pillar and became a turtle. And 22 people died in the accident, including some students.

Although officials have not yet determined the reasons behind the boat's overturning on Sunday, it is mainly attributed to the strong conflicting currents that occur in the case of a whirlpool.

Boat representatives reported that the driver may not be able to control the boat in strong currents. Some locals say there are some outstanding rocks under water in the area, which could also have caused the accident.

Due to the strong entrances in Godavari, East Godavari district officials said it would be a daunting task to track missing persons. “If a missing passenger is dead, his body could already have been dragged to a distant place due to continuous water flows. Search operations will continue until all missing persons are tracked. The naval diving team will join the missing personnel search operation of the dump tourist boat. Two naval helicopters will also be deployed from INS Dega, Visakhapatnam, on Monday morning to join the search operation along with other forces, the official said.

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