Guwahati: A boat carrying over 120 people sank in the Brahmaputra river after colliding with another vessel on Wednesday near Neamatighat in Assam’s Jorhat district, killing one woman and leaving around 35 people missing. said officials.
According to a senior official with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, a woman died after being rescued in Jorhat hospital.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Union Shipping, Ports, and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, an Assamese, have all expressed their deep sorrow over the accident.
Modi and Shah spoke with Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Chief Minister of Assam.
According to police, the accident occurred when the private boat ‘Ma Kamala’ was travelling from Neamatighat to the Kamalabari ferry point in Majuli island, while the state-operated ferry ‘Tripkai’ was heading for Neamatighat.
Police and disaster management personnel located the capsized boat about 350 metres from the riverbank, according to Jorhat district administration and police officials.
“Around 40 people on board the boat and the vessel were rescued from various locations downstream. However, approximately 35 people are still missing as of late evening “According to a police official, the search for the missing people is ongoing.
The National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force personnel rescued the people on board, the police official said.
Officials said about 30 two-wheelers onboard the capsized ferry went underwater.
Boat ferries are the only mode of communication between river island Majuli and Jorhat district and the transport over the river is often hazardous and risky specially during the monsoon months (June to September) when the river remains swollen.
Majuli, world’s biggest river island, is accessible by road from the northern bank of the Brahmaputra for most part of the year.
Sarma, who expressed his deep shock and concern over the boat accident, directed the administrations of Majuli and Jorhat to expedite rescue missions with the help of the NDRF and the SDRF, according to an official statement. The Chief Minister, who is scheduled to visit Neamatighat on Thursday, has also directed Power Minister Bimal Bora to visit the incident site as soon as possible to assess the situation. He directed his Principal Secretary, Samir Kumar Sinha, to keep a constant eye on the situation. (IANS)