Gandabal Boat Tragedy: Massive search for missing persons, rescue efforts continue

Srinagar: The joint rescue operation for the missing bodies, including those of a father-son duo and another minor boy, entered its second day on Wednesday in the aftermath of the tragic boat capsize incident at Gandabal area of Batwara on Tuesday. Teams from SDRF, NDRF, Indian Army’s MARCOS, Fire and Emergency, along with other officials, are intensifying efforts to locate and retrieve the bodies.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said the search and rescue operations are continuing in the area as efforts are on to locate three missing persons, comprising two children and an adult.

“Today, 14 teams, including those from NDRF, SDRF, ARMY, River Police, and other agencies, were deployed for rescue operations. The operation is scheduled to continue throughout the night and will resume in the morning,” he said.

The Div Com said Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is actively monitoring the situation and has announced financial assistance for the families of the deceased and the injured.

Regarding the bridge construction, the Div Com said, “We have verified the information, and the work is expected to be completed by June of this year.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing rescue operation to trace the bodies of the three missing individuals has been intensified following the boat capsizing incident.

An official said the rescue operation, to retrieve the three missing persons, including a father-son duo identified as Showkat Ahmad and his son Hazik Showkat, along with minor boy Farhan Parray, resumed in the first light of the morning after being halted last night at around 11 pm. It continued all day, he said.

The operation continued all day, with the rescue teams from SDRF, NDRF, Indian Army’s MARCOS, Fire and Emergency, and other officials making all-out efforts to retrieve the bodies.

“We have been here in Jhelum of Batwara since around 6 am, continuing our search. Initially, we started from the Batwara area in the morning where the boat capsized. We first scanned the incident spot and soon moved forward to search other areas in the river for the body,” ASI SDRF, Abdul Rashid told KNO.

He said the water flow was very high on Tuesday, however, today it had receded, while no traces of the body were found. “We are hopeful of recovering the bodies,” he said.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir VK Birdi told reporters that the search operation to trace the three missing persons from river Jhelum is underway. “We have alerted all the police stations along river Jhelum to keep watch on bodies,” Birdi said, adding that specialised divers who are searching for the missing persons are focusing on sites where there is a high probability of finding the missing persons.

The entire Kashmir region plunged into deep shock and grief after a boat ferrying school kids, locals, and a few non-J&K residents capsized at the Gandabal area of Batwara in Srinagar on Tuesday. This resulted in the death of six persons, including a mother, her two children, and the boatman—(KNO)

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