Tragic Mishap: Boat Capsizes in Mahanadi River, Claiming Lives and Prompting Urgent Rescue Efforts

Boat carrying over 57 capsizes, two killed, 48 rescued, search operation underway.

·       According to the police, the incident happened when over 50 passengers hailing from the Kharsia area in neighbouring Chhattisgarh were returning in the boat after visiting a temple.

·       The search and rescue operation will continue till the last person is located,” Northern Range IG Himansu Lal told PTI over phone.

·       Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased.

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, a leisurely boat journey turned into a nightmare as a vessel carrying over 57 passengers capsized in the tumultuous waters of the Mahanadi River. The incident, which unfolded near Sarada Ghat in Jharsuguda district,  left two individuals dead and dozens stranded in the midst of a desperate struggle for survival.

The ill-fated journey began innocuously enough, with passengers from Kharsia, Chhattisgarh, returning from a spiritual visit to Patharseni Kuda in Bargarh district, Odisha. However, tragedy struck as the boat, heavily laden with passengers, encountered treacherous waters, leading to its catastrophic overturning.

In the immediate aftermath, local fishermen and emergency services personnel mounted a valiant rescue effort, managing to save 48 passengers from the clutches of the river’s unforgiving currents. However, the fate of seven individuals, including four women and three children, hangs in the balance as they remain unaccounted for, lost amidst the chaos of the accident.

Undeterred by the daunting task before them, authorities have launched a comprehensive search and rescue operation, marshaling four teams equipped with scuba divers and specialized underwater search cameras. With unwavering determination, the Northen Range IG, Himansu Lal, has pledged to persevere until every missing person is located and brought to safety.

Meanwhile, in the corridors of power, Chief Secretary P K Jena and Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahu are closely monitoring the unfolding situation from the state capital of Bhubaneswar. At the riverbank, a coordinated effort is underway, with the revenue divisional commissioner, district collector, and SP providing oversight and guidance to the rescue teams on the ground.

To bolster the rescue efforts, additional support has been mobilized, including the swift transport of scuba divers and specialized equipment via a dedicated flight from Bhubaneswar. Additionally, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh for the families of the deceased, offering a measure of solace in the face of unspeakable loss.

As the community grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event, questions have arisen regarding the circumstances leading to the boat’s capsizing. Bargarh MP Suresh Pujari has voiced concerns over alleged lapses in safety protocols, citing the absence of proper licensing, fitness certification, and the overcrowded conditions aboard the ill-fated vessel.

As rescue efforts continue unabated and the search for answers intensifies, the collective hope remains for the safe return of the missing passengers and a renewed commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all those who venture onto the waters of the Mahanadi River.

(With inputs from agencies)

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