Mumbai: One person drowned Wednesday when a boat carrying 25 people, including a couple of Maharashtra government officials, capsized in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, police said.
Initially, the Navy said Maharashtra Chief Secretary D K Jain was on the ill-fated boat but the official later denied it, saying he was travelling by another boat. The accident occurred when officials and some others were on their way in four boats to the site of the proposed memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, where work was to begin Wednesday. One of the boats hit a rocky patch and capsized, a Navy official said.
While 24 people travelling on the ill-fated boat were rescued by the Navy, Coast Guard and police, Siddhesh Pawar (20), an activist of Vinayak Mete-led Shiv Sangram party, went missing. Two helicopters were deployed for the rescue work, a Coast Guard official said. Pawar’s body was recovered by the divers later, the police said. Work on the memorial was to begin Wednesday but the event to mark it was cancelled after the accident.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the deceased and ordered a probe into the accident. “The boat accident was unfortunate. Due to the timely help and assistance provided by the Indian navy and the Coast guard, a big accident was averted. The state government will conduct an inquiry into the incident,” Fadnavis said, speaking to reporters here. Jain said the chief minister has taken a serious note of the accident.
He said Maharashtra Maritime Board will investigate the accident. “I have issued necessary instructions,” he added. “I have been told that the boat was passing through rocky patches and remains of some submerged boats. The investigation will reveal more about how it happened,” he added. A case of accidental death is going to be filed in the matter, a police official said.