Three school students have lost their lives as a boat with 40 school children on board capsized Saturday near Maharashtra’s Dahanu in Palghar District. The boat was two nautical miles from the shore when the incident occurred.
Initial reports indicate that four school students have lost their lives in the incident while 25 students have been rescued. The rescue operation is underway to locate the missing. More details are awaited.
Dahanu is a coastal town in Palghar District of Maharashtra which is located 110 km from Mumbai city.
A massive search and rescue operation was launched and by late evening, 31 students of the K.L. Ponda High School & Junior College were rescued from the Arabian Sea waters.
Three deceased identified as Sonal Surti, Sanskriti Mayavanshi and Jahnvi Surti, all 17 years old and hailing from Ambedkar Nagar area of Dahanu, Palghar Superintendent of Police Manjunath Singe said.
A massive search is underway to find any remaining unaccounted student amidst fears of casualty figures increasing in the incident that took place around 5 kms in the sea off the Parnaka Beach here.
The 34 students were out on an annual college picnic in a double-decked boat named ‘Dahanu King’ which topple, Singe added.
Even the lone boatman, Mahesh Ambre, who was injured in the incident, has been rescued and undergoing treatment in a Dahanu hospital.
According to an eyewitness account, the tragedy apparently happened when some students crowded on one side of the boat to click selfies, resulting in loss of balance and the vessel capsizing.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who arrived in Mumbai this afternoon on a two-day visit, expressed grief over the boat tragedy in the state.
“Anguished to hear of boat carrying schoolchildren capsizing in Dahanu, Maharashtra. The state government has rescued most of the passengers is making efforts to trace those still missing. My condolences to the bereaved families,” the President said in a tweet.
The boat is owned by Parth Ambire and Mahendra Ambire, who are being booked under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for the tragedy.
The boat had been recently refurbished and hired out for joyrides in the seas, but it was not clear whether the student picknickers were given life-jackets or not, officials said.
The tragedy occurred during a low-tide, enabling the rescuers to reach the site quickly, and “save precious lives”, said an ICG spokesperson.