New Delhi: The Andaman and Nicobar administration has handed over a report on a boat tragedy that happened on Sunday to the Ministry of Home Affairs. According to sources, the report mentions the time of the accident, the number of casualties and the ex-gratia paid to the victims' families.
The sources also said that the MHA has taken note of media reports that the rescue operations began after a delay of two hours, a detail which is not mentioned in the Andaman administration's report.
The Andaman and Nicobar DGP today refuted allegations of delay in rescue operations after the boat tragedy. DGP Sudhir Yadav told CNN-IBN that the news about the delay was wrong.
"We got information about this accident at 3:50 pm and at 4:05 pm rescue teams were dispatched. At 4:10 pm police rescue boats reached the spot and the operation started," he said.
Eyewitnesses had earlier claimed that the rescue teams reached the site two hours after the boat sank.
Twenty one people lost their lives when the tourist boat capsized near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Sunday evening. Of the 21 casualties, 16 bodies have been identified.
The tourist boat identified as Aqua Marine capsized between Ross Island and North bay, about two kilometres off the coast of Andaman. Twenty nine survivors have been rescued while one person is reportedly still missing. Those rescued have been admitted to the GB Pant hospital.
The reasons for the capsize are being investigated. The details of how the incident took place remain sketchy.
Denis Giles, Editor, Andaman Chronicle, said: "The boat was returning from Viper island when a blast was heard. This was heard by some fisherman. Soon after that they passed on the information. The fisherman immediately went for the rescue." He said that there was a delay of two hours by marine rescue teams to reach the spot.
The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the victims.
Police have released helpline numbers. The toll-free helpline numbers are: 03192240137, 230178, 238881.
Helpline at GB Pant hospital: 03192230629, 09933274092, 102