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Tourist ferry sinks in Andamans, 21 dead

andaman

A tourist boat Aqua Marine sank off Viper Island 500 metres from the dockyards in Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, killing at least 21 people 

andamanPort Blair/Chennai: A diesel-run tourist boat Aqua Marine sank off Viper Island 500 metres from the dockyards in Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, killing at least 21 people around 4pm on Sunday. The most of passengers were tourists including adults and children.

Thirteen people have been rescued so far and 11 people are missing, 11 women and a seven year old girl are amongst those died, according to the sources. The boat having capacity to carry 25 passengers was carrying 45 people on board.

Thirteen of the dead were from Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, three from Chennai, three from Mumbai, one from Kolkata and one from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Most of the passengers of this ill fated boat arrived in Port Blair on Thursday on a package tour.

Around 50 policemen and divers from the Coast Guard took part in the rescue operation which started immediately after the accident, according to the officials.

Lieutenant governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands AK Singh reviewed the rescue operations and directed the defense establishment on the islands to press their air and sea assets to save lives. Salvage operations were launched through joint efforts of civil and defence establishment, especially the Coast Guard.

The LG also spoke to Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and briefed him about the operations apart from announcing an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of those dead. The additional district magistrate, South Andaman, has been directed to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the tragedy. The LG also ordered a safety audit of all government and private vessels across the chain of islands.

Those rescued were admitted to GB Pant Hospital in Port Blair and bodies taken for post-mortem, hospital sources said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock and condoled the loss of lives, a PMO statement issued from New Delhi said.

Helpline numbers at district control room, South Andaman district (Toll Free Nos. 1070, 03192-240127, 230178, 238881) and GB Pant Govt Hospital (03192-230629, 9933274092) Local helpline (102).

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