Kerala boat accident: Death toll rises to 22

Kochi: The death toll in the tourist boat accident near the Thoovaltheeram beach here has risen to 22, officials said on Monday.

Eight people were rescued after the boat capsized on Sunday evening and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, district officials said.

The boat, which was carrying more than 30 people, capsized near an estuary close to the Thoovaltheeram beach in the Tanur area around 7:30 pm.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Indian Coast Guard teams have reached the spot and a search operation for the missing persons is underway, the officials said.

A senior district official said that all the 22 people whose bodies have been recovered have been identified.

”We have requested the help of all agencies. NDRF and Coast Guard teams have already reached the spot. We have also sought the Navy’s help,” the official said.

The exact number of people in the capsized vessel is yet to be ascertained, the official added.

The state government has announced a day of mourning on Monday and cancelled all official events as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in the accident.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday visited the Taluk Hospital, Tirurangadi in Malappuram district where survivors of the boat capsize incident near the Tanur coast a day ago were admitted.

The Kerala government has also ordered a judicial probe into the incident. The chief minister announced Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of victims and said t he government will bear the treatment expense of the injured people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.