Pat, Jan 15: The death toll in the boat tragedy here rose to 25 on Sunday as rescuers recovered four more bodies, officials said. “With four more bodies found, including that of a 12-year-old girl, the number of dead has gone up to 25,” Pat District Magistrate Sanjay Agrawal told the media. Pritay Amrit, the Principal Secretary in the Disaster Magement wing, said the rescue and search operation would continue on Sunday.
According to witnesses, the overcrowded boat was returning from a kite flying festival, organised as part of Makar Sankranti by the Bihar Tourism Department, when the incident took place around 6 p.m. on Saturday. According to officials, 25 victims have been identified, including five children and women each and 15 men. The capsized and broken boat was taken out of the Ganga river by a team of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) on Sunday. Assisting the SDRF are personnel from the tiol Disaster Response Force (NDRF). A case has been lodged against the boatman and mager of an amusement park.
The rescue and search operations were halted on Saturday night in view of darkness and cold weather and resumed on Sunday. Nearly 20 people have been rescued so far. Most are being treated at the Pat Medical College and Hospital. Prime Minister rendra Modi on Sunday announced Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the victims of the Bihar boat tragedy that left more than 20 persons dead. Expressing grief and extending his condolences, Modi also approved Rs 50,000 for those critically injured in the boat capsize in the Ganga river in Pat on Saturday evening.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe into the tragedy. The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of each victim. Bihar’s ruling Jata Dal-United cancelled its feast on Sunday to mark Makar Sankranti festival in view of the tragedy. (IANS)