Six villagers feared drowned as boat flips

by IANS |

Solapur (Maharashtra), May 22 (IANS) At least six villagers were missing and feared drowned, while one swam ashore after a motorboat overturned in a sudden storm at Solapur’s Ujani dam waters, officials said here on Wednesday.

The incident happened late Tuesday night. This morning, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed a specialised team to the site and launched a rescue effort to trace the missing persons, the officials said.

According to locals, the tragedy occurred when the launch with seven people was sailing from Kugaon village in Solapur to the Kalashi village in Pune on the opposite bank.

The Solapur Police said that as per preliminary information, the motorboat with seven passengers set sail from Kugaon to Kalashi but midway a sudden thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds lashed the vicinity, churning up strong waves in the lake waters in which the small vessel overturned.

At least one person on board, a Solapur assistant police inspector Rahul Dongre, managed to swim safely to the opposite (Pune) shore while the others went missing in the darkness and have not yet been found till noon.

Their identities are given as Gokul D. Jadhav, 30; his wife Komal, 25; and their kids, including three-year-old daughter Mahi, and one-year-old son Shubham; a villager Gaurav Dongre and the boatman Anurag Avghade, 35.

The policeman Dongre, who swam safely to Kalashi, sounded an alarm and alerted the villagers, the Pune Police and district administration besides other rescue authorities which rushed to the tragedy spot, but could do little in the darkness with sporadic rain.

This morning, the NDRF deployed a team which started the search with expert divers, boats, ropes and other equipment, and further details are awaited.

Baramati MP and Nationalist Congress Party (SP) Working President Supriya Sule rushed to the spot and took stock of the situation and the rescue operations.

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