Chilika Boat Capsize: All 6 missing bodies fished out; CM announces Rs 4L ex-gratia

Khurda/Ganjam: The toll in the boat capsize incident in Chilika Lake which took place Saturday evening has risen to six with recovery of the bodies of the four more missing persons today.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the kin of deceased and free medical treatment for all the injured persons. Expressing grief, Patnaik had earlier directed the SRC, Khurda and Ganjam district administration to expedite rescue operation and provide free medical treatment to the injured.

As per sources, bodies of two women and a minor boy were recovered early in the morning while after an intense search operation by fire personnel and ODRAF, body of one more missing child was fished out.

A few experts have claimed that unfit boats with no life jacket, untrained boatman and faulty engines led to such a disaster.

The mishap occurred at around 5:30 pm Saturday when the boat carrying 18 passengers from Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh including the boatman were returning from Kalijai to Balugaon.

According to reports, the boat capsized under the impact of strong winds during a thunderstorm that lashed the region.

“We had darshan of Kalijai. When weather conditions started worsening, the boatman asked us to hurry. While returning our boat overturned. I could see my wife and daughter struggling in the water but was helpless. An hour later when boats came to rescue us, it was too late as doctors here at the hospital declared my child brought dead. My wife is still missing,” cried Rabi Narayan.

Meanwhile, Chief Fire Officer Sukant Sethi informed, “Two bodies were fished out yesterday while four more were recovered today. Over 50 fire personnel, 40-member ORDAF team, six power boats, personnel of Indian Navy, 16 divers and local fishermen were engaged in rescue  operation.”

All the 12 persons who were rescued following the mishap were first admitted to Balugaon hospital and later two were shifted to Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar after their condition deteriorated.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was also deeply saddened by the loss of lives in the incident and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured.