Tue, 01 May 2012 17:32:38 GMT

150 missing, toll could rise in Assam boat accident

Guwahati: Rescue operations continued in the Brahmaputra in Assam Tuesday, a day after a ferry capsized in the river killing nearly 70 people, but with at least 150 still missing the death toll was expected to rise, officials said.

150 missing, toll could rise in Assam boat accident

On Tuesday, the district administration pressed into service a helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to step up the rescue operations in Monday's incident, in which a storm hit the ferry, causing it to drown in Lower Assam's Dhubri district.

Abdul Aziz, a survivor, said there were over 300 passengers on the ferry. "The storm was so strong that it broke the ferry into pieces," he said. A district administration official said: "The casualty might go up as we are yet to ascertain the exact number of passengers on the ferry.

As per our information, about 240 passengers bought tickets but there were passengers without tickets too." "We have taken all possible measures to search and rescue victims." At least 68 people died and over 150 are still missing after the ferry, which was on its way to Madattari under Fakirganj police station from Dhubri town, capsized in heavy storm in Brahmaputra river Monday evening.

The Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF), which started rescue operations immediately after the incident along with local people, could bring ashore 80 people till Monday night. Some passengers managed to swim to the river bank.

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