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Skipper’s Short Cut to Shivaji Memorial Site Caused Boat Mishap, Killing One: Survivor

He said the skipper should have taken a longer route to reach the site of the proposed Chhartapati Shivaji memorial because the area, known as Prongs Reef Lighthouse, is rocky.

PTI

Updated:October 24, 2018, 10:42 PM IST
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Skipper’s Short Cut to Shivaji Memorial Site Caused Boat Mishap, Killing One: Survivor
The boat, which belongs to the Maharashtra government, overturned around 2.6km away from Nariman Point.
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Mumbai: An "error of judgment" on part of the skipper of the twin-engine boat in not taking a longer route could be a prima facie cause behind the boat capsize incident in Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast Wednesday, claimed a survivor.

He said the skipper should have taken a longer route to reach the site of the proposed Chhartapati Shivaji memorial because the area, known as Prongs Reef Lighthouse, is rocky.

He said the boat hit the rocky patch when it was around 400 metres away from the Mumbai coast. "The skipper should not have taken the boat from the prongs area because it is very difficult to negotiate rocks," said the survivor, who is a reporter of a city-based English tabloid.

Around 24-25 people, including a couple of state government officials, were present on the boat at the time of the accident, he said.

"I was sitting next to the driver. The boat was running at slightly high speed. The area of accident is the southernmost tip of Mumbai," he said. The journalist said that passengers fell on each other after the boat hit a rocky patch.

"People on the boat panicked after realising that the number of life jackets available was less (than the number of the people)," the journalist said after returning safely to the Gateway of India.

"When a rescue boat approached us, everyone tried to get on it fast. As a result of this, our boat got toppled and a person named Siddhesh Pawar got trapped under it," he said.

He said most of the passengers on the ill-fated boat were followers of Vinayak Mete, an MLC who heads the Supervisory Committee of the memorial. "Rest of the passengers consisted of a couple of officials of the state government and the boat staff," the reporter said. He felt "an error of judgment" on part of the skipper might have led to the mishap.

"The skipper should have taken a longer route to reach the proposed site of Shivaji Memorial," he said. Narrating the scene, the reporter said he and others tried calling up officials of the Coast Guard and the Navy besides the Coastal Police for help.

"We saved some people who fell into water but one person got stuck under the boat," he said, adding that a seaman named Karan helped many passengers to get on the Navy's Dolphin boat. Another survivor Balasaheb Jathar said it was his first boat ride.

He claimed that some of them didn't get to wear the life jackets after the mishap, apparently due to shortage. When asked about the speed of the boat, he said it was "quite high". "However, I cannot tell you whether it was too high or not," he said.

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