Rajahmundry: Nearly 30 passengers were feared drowned in the Godavari when their launch capsized in a strong gale on the border of the East and West Godavari districts on Tuesday. Passengers panicked and ran towards one side, resulting in the launch capsizing. The river was said around 20-foot deep at the spot. About 10 passengers including the launch owner-cum-driver Sheik Khaza Moiuddin were rescued by local villagers. Moiuddin surrendered to the Devipatnam police.
The launch, belonging to the Lakshmi Venkateswara Service, was proceeding from Devipatnam to Kondamodalu.
Locals use the launch to travel between Devipatnam and Kondamodalu on a regular basis. In this case, the villagers and a marriage party travelled took the launch to Devipatnam in the morning to purchase provisions and vegetables in a weekly market and were returning to Kondamodalu when the mishap occurred.
Officials had a tough time in reaching the site as it is highly inaccessible by road. They engaged launches and boats to reach the place. By the time they reached there, darkness fell which hampered rescue operations. West Godavari SP M. Ravi Prakash said, the fate of the remaining 30 passengers is uncertain.