Malappuram: At least 15 persons including six children were killed, when a tourist boat overturned at Ottumpuram-Thooval Theerum beach, in the estuary of Koorapuzha river, near Tanur, on Sunday, police said.
Six persons have been rescued by fishermen and local residents, so far.
District police chief Sujith Das told news persons: “16 deaths are confirmed. Of them, 12 were identified, so far”.
Nine bodies were kept at Tirurangadi taluk hospital and the rest at private hospitals at Tanur and Parpangadi.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will visit Malappuram on Monday.
The seriously injured four children were admitted to a private hospital in Kottakkal, hospital sources said.
The incident took place around 1900 hrs,
A tourist boat carrying around 30 persons overturned around half kilometres away from the beach, allegedly due to overload. Fishermen, fire force personnel and local divers rushed to the spot and rescued around eight persons from the accident spot. They have been admitted to various hospitals at Tanur, Tirur and Parpangadi, police said.
The bodies were kept at Tanur and Tirurangadi hospital. Normally boat service run by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) continues only up to 1700 hrs daily. But due to large number of domestic tourists crowding in the beach area on weekend holiday, the boat service extended for two more hours .
Sports minister V Abdu Rahiman , who was leading the rescue operations, however, confirmed six deaths. “Six deaths were confirmed so far, and fire force and police personnel were conducting a search and rescue operation with the support of local residents and fishermen”.
Eye witnesses held that due to overcrowding, a number of tourists were not provided life jackets. Insufficient power supply also hampered rescue operation, leading to so many deaths. The tourists were from Tanur and nearby areas of Parapangadi.
Tourism minister P A Muhammed Riyaz inaugurated the first floating bridge in Malappuram district on April 24 at Thooval Theerum under the State beach tourism, with the cooperation of DTPC.