Major boat tragedies that rocked Kerala

Locals and police personnel engaged in a rescue operation at Kumarakom in 2002. File Pic: Manorama

The double-decker recreational boat that overturned at Thooval Theeram in Tanur near Malappuram on Sunday, killing many, is yet another tragedy that has left the people of Kerala in utter shock.

Over the past two decades, the state has witnessed several tragic boat accidents that have claimed the lives of many.

Thekkady (2009)

It was on September 30, 2009, that a double-decker passenger boat, Jalakanyaka, capsized in one of the deepest parts of the Mullaperiyar reservoir (around 100m deep), killing 45 tourists. There were over 80 passengers on the boat.

After a detailed investigation, it was found that the reason for the accident was overload. While the maximum capacity was 75, there were 87 people on the boat and no safety measures were provided to any of the passengers. The boat's helmsman, Victor Samuel, and another crew member were arrested.

Kumarakom (2002)

Kumarakom, a popular tourist destination, bore witness to a tragic accident on July 27, 2002, when a heavily loaded A53 boat of the Kerala Water Transport department, which left from Muhamma in Alappuzha, capsized in the Vembanad Lake, claiming 29 lives.

The deceased included 15 women and a nine-month-old baby, besides several job aspirants who were on their way to Kottayam to appear for a PSC exam.

Thattekad (2007)

The Thattekad boat tragedy, which happened on February 20, 2007, is to date one of the most painful incidents in Kerala's history as the accident claimed the lives of 15 children and three teachers who were on a picnic from St Antony's UP School, Elavoor, at the lake.

The tragedy occurred when water began to leak into the boat, causing it to overturn. As per police reports, the boat needed repair and was grossly overloaded.

It was later revealed that there were 61 passengers on the boat which had a maximum capacity of six. The owner of the boat, who was also the navigator on the fateful day, was taken into custody.

Kannamally (1980)

It was in 1980 that a ferry carrying pilgrims of a local church at Kannamally in Kochi sank, claiming 29 lives.

Palana (1924)

The Palana boat tragedy is responsible for Kerala losing one of its revered poets Mahakavi Kumaran Asan. He was among the 24 passengers that drowned when a boat from Kollam to Kottayam sank at Palana in 1924.

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