Search operation on in Assam ferry mishap

Guwahati: Rescuers today scoured the waters of the Brahmaputra River amidst torrential rain to locate the over 100 missing in Assam`s worst boat disaster that left 103 dead even as authorities feared that the toll may rise.

"The death toll may rise as more than 100 are missing and the exact toll will be known after the search operation," Dhubri Deputy Commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita said.

Rescuers and divers of the Army, BSF and NDRF with speedboats were searching the waters this morning amidst torrential rain which was continuing since last night to locate more bodies as the ferry was carrying over 300 passengers when it was caught in a storm and capsized in Dhubri district yesterday, he said.

"The National Disaster Relief Force, BSF and Army and personnel of the district administration are continuing search operations amidst torrential rain which has continued till this morning," Kalita said.

The ferry was sailing from Dhubri ferry ghat to Medartary on south bank of the river when it was caught in a storm. The bodies have been kept at the Dhubri Civil Hospital.

President Pratibha Patil had expressed grief over the loss of lives, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of all help for relief and funds for families of the victims.

The chief minister has already ordered an inquiry. Another 12 persons were missing in another boat capsize in the same area on Monday.