Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday conducted an aerial survey of the spot where a tourist boat capsized in Godavari river of Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district on Sunday.
The CM flew in a helicopter over Kuchuluru, where the boat with over 60 tourists capsized. At least 12 people were killed and more than 21 have been reported missing.
Accompanied by Home Minister Sucharita, Reddy took off from Vijayawada and took the aerial survey while on his way to Rajahmundry. The Chief Minister will hold a meeting later in the day with officials to review the rescue and relief operations.
The search and rescue operations are being carried out by the Indian Navy, NDRF, SDRF and state authorities.
Six teams of fire fighting personnel with eight boats were also participating in the rescue work.
"A specialized deep divers team with Side Scan Sonar equipment from Uttarakhand is landing at Vijayawada by tomorrow (Monday) for retrieving bodies from river," said an official statement on Sunday night.
Majority of those on the boat were from Telangana. Officials said 22 of the tourists were from Hyderabad and 14 from Warangal.
Negligence by the private boat operator led to the tragedy as the boat was operated despite floods and in violation of safety guidelines of the Tourism Department.
Survivors complained that the driver appeared untrained and the crew had no training in dealing with the emergency.
Following the incident, the CM ordered all the available ministers in the district to rush to the scene and supervise the rescue work. He directed the officials to suspend all boating services immediately in the region.
Jagan Mohan Reddy also announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.
The Chief Minister sought a complete report on the incident and directed framing of safety guidelines by an experts committee.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also expressed his grief over the tragedy. Since there were people from Telangana among those dead, he instructed officials concerned to take the necessary action.
He also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of the dead.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief over the boat accident.
"Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy," he said in a tweet.
Modi posted another tweet in Telugu, calling the incident "traumatic".
(With agency inputs)