Boat Tragedy Toll Rises to 10, Two Houseboats Catch Fire

Boat Tragedy Toll Rises to 10, Two Houseboats Catch Fire

The toll in the Wednesday's boat tragedy here has risen to ten with the recovery of two more bodies from the backwaters while the state witnessed another mishap today when two houseboats caught fire in Alapuzha district.

The Search operation team, comprising of Navy, Coast Guard and Marine enforcement personnel, fished out the bodies of 28-year-old Fousia and 24-year-old Shilton, they said.

Six persons were killed and 25 other passengers rescued when the boat, carrying around 35 people, capsized and sank after being allegedly hit by a speeding fishing craft in the harbour mouth off Fort Kochi on August 26. Two bodies were recovered yesterday.

In today's mishap, a house boat was completely destroyed and another one partially damaged in the fire at Punnamada backwaters in the wee hours, police said.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, that occurred on the Onam day, as there were no tourists in the boats, which were parked at the jetty, police said.

A cook in the small houseboat in which the fire was noticed ran to safety, police said.

Quick action in moving away other boats docked in the area averted a possible major mishap, they said adding preliminary investigation showed short circuit to be the cause of the fire.

In the Kochi incident, one of the worst boat tragedies in the state in recent years, the search operations were still continuing as there were apprehensions that some more might remain unaccounted.

The exact number of passengers on board the boat at the time of the mishap was yet to be ascertained.

Police, however, said initial investigation indicated that there were about 35 people in the boat, said to be over three-decades old, when it was on its way from Vypin to Fort Kochi.

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