12 bodies recovered from capsized Godavari launch

Boat Capsized incident on Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh

Boat Capsized incident on Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh

They were headed to the scenic Papikondalu, or "Papi Hills" in the West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

Besides Navy, personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, Fire Services, Revenue and Police Department were carrying out the search and rescue operation as over 30 passengers travelling in the boat were said to be missing.

Most of the passengers were part of a 20-member wedding party, the Hindustan Times reported.

However, there was no clarity on the exact number of people missing with conflicting claims made by government authorities. "They had come to the weekly market (santha) to buy groceries, this happened on their way back".

Police told TNM that a criminal case has been filed against the owner of the boat, and he is in police custody.

"The river is very narrow now and not very deep, so if the boat had a problem the boat driver can reach the river bank within five minutes".

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"The fact that the boat had sunk 60 feet deep into the river waters itself shows the magnitude of the tragedy".

Officials launched massive rescue operations by using boats and divers.

Eight people drowned after their boat capsized on Sunday.

"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. "At present, we are trying to pull the boat out and this may reveal how many people got stuck inside and under it".

According to East Godavari Collector Karthikeya Mishra, who was rushing to the spot, the boat was coming from Kondamodalu (East) and proceeding to Polavaram (West).

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