At least three teenage school students were died and six others went missing when a boat carrying 40 students capsized near Maharashtra’s coastal town of Dahanu on Saturday Morning, Palghar Superintendent of Police Manjunath Singe said.
The deceased were identified as Sonal Bhagwan Surati, Janhawi Harish Surati and Sanskriti Mayavanshi.
Overloading is said to be the cause of the mishap. Hundreds of villagers including parents had gathered at the Parnaka beach as bodies of the girls were fished out of the Arabian Sea after the tragedy struck the picnicker. Rescue operations are still underway to trace the six missing children, who mostly hail from Palghar district in Maharashtra.
Thirty-two of the children were rescued in a massive search and rescue operation, which was launched after the students fell into waters around 5km off the beach.
The incident took place around 11.30 this morning. All the students belonged to Babubhai Junior College near Par Naka in Dahanu, an area in Palghar district that is about 110 km from Mumbai.
Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind has condoled the incident. He tweeted, “Anguished to hear of boat carrying schoolchildren capsizing in Dahanu, Maharashtra. The State government has rescued most of the passengers and is making efforts to trace those still missing. My condolences to the bereaved families.”
Anguished to hear of boat carrying schoolchildren capsizing in Dahanu, Maharashtra. State government has rescued most of the passengers and is making efforts to trace those still missing. My condolences to bereaved families #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) January 13, 2018
Eyewitnesses as saying that the tragedy was apparently triggered when some students reportedly crowded on one side of the boat to click selfies, resulting in the loss of balance as the vessel capsized.
A Dornier aircraft and Indian Coast Guard has deployed ships to the site to conduct search and rescue operations.