22 dead as tourist boat overturns at Tanur; at least 7 children among deceased

Local fishermen and volunteers drag the ill-fated boat ashore at Thooval Theeram in Tanur, Malappuram. Photo: PRD

Tanur: At least 22 persons, including seven children, have died after a tourist boat overturned at Tanur in Malappuram Sunday evening.

The accident occurred after 6.30 pm at Thooval Theeram, Ottumpuram. Till 2 am, over 7 hours since the accident, the exact number of passengers onboard was not determined.

Locals and survivors have said at least 35 persons, including families with children, were in the boat, the capacity of which has also not been determined yet.

Nine of the deceased are, Asna (18), Safna (7), Fatima Minha (12), Siddique (35), Jalasiya Jabir (40), Aflah (7), Faisal (3), Anshid and Rasheena. The identities of the others who died in the tragedy are yet to be known.

Eight deaths were confirmed at the Tirurangadi Taluk Hospital. At least 8 persons are admitted to the MIMS Hospital at Kottakal, of whom four are on ventillator support.

Local fishermen and volunteers drag the ill-fated boat ashore at Thooval Theeram in Tanur, Malappuram. Photo: PRD

Others are being treated at hospitals in Tirur, Tanur and Kozhikode. The services of Navy, Coast Guard and the NDRF have been sought in the rescue mission.

Boat was crowded
A youngster, who swam to safety from the ill-fated boat, told Manorama News that at least 30-40 persons were onboard.

The man, who identified himself as Shafeeq, said the boat was a double-decker. According to him, there were two doors but after the boat overturned, those inside were stuck.

Locals and volunteers attempt to drag the submerged boat ashore. Photo: Fahad Muneer/Manorama

Shafeeq said tragedy struck almost half a kilometre into the river and there were several families, including small children, onboard.

"I'm a rescuer and we managed to save a few. But those in the lower deck, especially children were stuck," Shafeeq said.

Last month, Kerala's first floating bridge was inaugurated at Thooval Theeram by Tourism Minister PA Muhammad Riyas and V Abdurahiman.

The destination is closer to the sea. Locals have alleged that the boat was crowded and adequate life-saving equipment was not onboard.

Tanur Municipality councillor, PP Musthafa, has said the recreational boat services are only permitted to operate till 5 pm.

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