GUWAHATI, India - A fierce storm in Assam has caused not one but two boats to capsize on the Brahmaputra river. In the first incident, 103 people, including women and children, have drowned after a ferry carrying 350 people capsized in Dhubri distirct.
This is being tipped as one of the worst tragedies in recent times.
The accident occurred on Monday evening. As many as 25 people swam to safety but about a 200 continue to be missing. Authorities fear that the death toll could rise further.
The police, army, BSF and National Disaster Relief Force personnel have been working overnight to find the survivors, but darkness, bad weather and a strong river current have hampered operations. "This incident occurred due to a cyclone. Almost 300 people were on the boat. Our divers will do deep diving and will save maximum number of people. We will try our best," said Alok Kumar Singh, NDRF Commandant.
Meanwhile, the district administration has issued a red alert in the area while Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered an inquiry.
Abdul Khaliq, press advisor of the CM, said, "We don't know how many people will be affected from this tragedy. The CM has presented his deep grief on the accident and has given orders for the rescue operation. An inquiry has been ordered."
In the second incident, a boat capsized at Jaleswar, following which 12 people went missing.