Kochi | At least six persons were killed and several injured when a boat carrying around 30 people capsized and sank after being allegedly hit by a speeding fishing craft in the harbour mouth off Fort Kochi today. Around 20 passengers were rescued from the sinking boat and admitted to various hospitals.
Intensive rescue operations involving personnel of Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Police were underway with Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala coordinating the work.
The exact number of passengers on board the passenger boat, said to be over three-decades old, at the time of the mishap was yet to be ascertained. Police said the deceased included three women and bodies of four victims had been identified.
It was the quick rescue operations initiated by the local people and tourists, who were witness to the tragedy, that saved lives of several passengers, eye witnesses said.
Police said the passenger boat broke into two pieces and sank after it was forcefully hit in its middle by the speeding country boat.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is rushing here from Thiruvananthapuram to assess the tragedy that occurred in the midst of the ten-day Onam celebrations in the state.
The passenger vessel was on its way from Vypin to Fort Kochi when it was hit by the fishing boat at the harbour mouth at around 1.40 pm.
A Navy spokesman said a Naval divers team and Chetak helicopter have been pressed into the rescue operations.
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