Mothers Weep, Fathers in Pain as nearly 10 children die in boat accident

The year started in a tragic fashion for some parent in India after about eight children were reportedly killed in a boat mishap.

A boat packed with picnickers capsized in a river in eastern India, killing 10 revellers including eight children, officials said Thursday. The mechanised fishing boat toppled on Wednesday while it was anchored near Hukitola, an island in the Mahanadi river popular with tourists, after some of the occupants tried to disembark at the same time.

“So far nine bodies have been recovered while the body of a six-year-old girl is yet to be retrieved,” said Dasarathi Satpathy, the magistrate of Kendrapara district in Odisha state. Rescuers managed to save 45 other passengers, Satpathy told AFP. The Hindu newspaper said the boat was meant to carry a maximum of 20 people but was packed with some 55 passengers, most of them women and children.

State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced compensation of 400,000 rupees ($5,701) each to the families of the deceased and free medical treatment for the injured. Boat accidents are common in India, with most of them blamed on overcrowding and poor maintenance. Last May, some 19 people were killed when a boat capsized in Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh state. In 2017, 20 people were killed in a similar boat accident on the Yamuna river in northern India.

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