Manmohan Singh and Jayalalithaa condole Andaman Boat Tragedy

Chennai/New Delhi: At least 21 people were killed and one was missing when a boat with 43 people on board capsized near Port Blair Sunday, Andamans and Nicobar’s police chief said. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa however put the toll at 28.

The accident took place between Ross Island and North Bay near Port Blair. The tourist boat Aqua Marine belonged to a private company.

“Around 10 people have been admitted to a hospital. The number of bodies recovered is 21 and one person is missing. All others have been saved,” the union territory’s Director General of Police Sudhir Yadav told IANS.

He said further details are being ascertained.

Expressing deep sorrow at the deaths of at least 28 people in the accident, Jayalalithaa ordered officials to take necessary action for providing relief to the survivors.

In a statement issued in Chennai, Jayalalithaa said senior state government officials have been ordered to immediately reach Port Blair to provide medical relief to those who have been rescued.

Out of the total 45 passengers, 33 were from Kanchipuram district, around 70 km from Chennai, she said, adding the majority of the dead were from the district only. Orders have been issued to bring the bodies here at the state government’s cost.

She also ordered the release of Rs.100,000 as solatium for the families of each of the dead.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock over the accident.

In an official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Manmohan Singh “condoled the loss of lives”.

“The prime minister has asked all central agencies to immediately assist in the rescue and relief operations,” the statement said.