The incident occurred around 4.15 pm. “Ma Kamala”, the country boat which sunk, was travelling from Nimatighat in Jorhat to Majuli and the other ferry, “Tripkai”, was coming from Majuli and was heading towards Nimatighat.
The boats run by government and private parties are the lifeline for islanders. The privately run boats do not issue any tickets and hence they do keep count of passengers who travel. Authorities said according to various sources, at least 70 people were on board the boat and going by it, the number of missing people could be around 27. The deceased woman, Parimita Das, who is from Guwahati, had recently joined as a teacher in a school in Majuli.
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said 43 people have been rescued so far. “One of them, a woman, died after she was brought to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.” At least seven among the rescued passengers are children, the youngest being an infant of three months.
PM Narendra Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the boat accident in Assam. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the passengers. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.”
Saddened by the boat accident in Assam. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the passengers. I pray for ev… https://t.co/5dQWmG1NoC
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1631108668000
Rescuers from NDRF and SDRF and local youths are continuing with search and rescue operation till the time of filing this report. The divers have found the sunk boat about 200 meters downstream of the site of collision.
Sarma said, “So far, missing reports of four persons have been received through our toll-free numbers, but we would need couple of hours to know the exact number of missing persons.” Sarma added that he will be at Nimatighat on Thursday.
Sarma said the boat has found on the river bed in an upside-down position but due to strong current of the river, divers cannot search inside the boat to search for anyone trapped. “We will now cut thorough the boat to carry out search operations underneath the upturned boat,” he said.
Dozens of country boats carry hundreds of people to and from the island to Jorhat mainland every day in the absence of a bridge. The foundation stone of a bridge was laid by Union minister Nitin Gadkari in 2016 before the assembly polls and the inauguration of construction work for the 2-lane 6.8-km bridge was done by PM Narendra Modi in February, 2021.