Devipatnam:The Royal Vasishta tourist boat, which sank in the Godavari River at Kachuluru Mandal, near Devipatnam at East Godavari District, was finally retrieved from the river by the Dharmadi Satyam team on Monday evening. Despite many hurdles the boat was retrieved, in what can be termed as one of the biggest recovery operations in the country.
The 28-member Dharmadi Satyam team succeeded in this operation after 38 days of hard work, bad weather, rains and other technical difficulties, which plagued the rescue operations. Earlier, two teams had tried to retrieve the boat but were unsuccessful in their attempts. Balaji Marines then took over the operations and helped retrieve the boat.
The Royal Vasishta tourist boat capsized on the fateful day of September 15th after it hit a whirlpool and sank immediately.
The boat was brought to the water by Balaji Marines and the Dharmadi Satyam Team with the help of the Andhra Pradesh government, NDRF, SDR, marine deep sea divers, and the local Police with special mention to SI Nagaraju.
Ropes and anchors were used to recover the boat from underwater and it was said that the boat was found in a location of more than 50-70 feet under water. As the flood waters receded,the rescue operations restarted.
The boat was completely destroyed. The roof top was first extracted in the morning, and by 4 pm the team hauled the remaining parts of the boat out. Five bodies were recovered from the remains of the boat. Initially, a headless body of a woman was found floating when the operation had commenced. Dharmadi Satyam and his team said that though they were happy to retrieve the boat, it was unfortunate that many lives were lost due to this accident and hoped that no such incidents occur in future. The firm used the services of expert swimmers, boats, rafts, 1,500 metres of iron cable and hooks to salvage the boat.
The Royal Vashista tourist boat, ferrying 77 persons to the famous scenic spot Papikondalu, capsized near Kachuluru village. While 26 tourists were rescued by villagers, the bodies of 38 others were retrieved later. As many as 13 people were still missing. With six bodies recovered now the missing persons' count has come down to seven.