He said a total of 44 people were on the launch and half of them swam to safety. Cranes were used to salvage the boat while teams from Navy, National and State Disaster Response Forces worked to retrieve dead bodies. The ill-fated boat was on its way to Rajamahendravaram from Kondamodalu when tragedy struck.
Ferry disasters occur frequently in India, often because of overcrowded boats or poor maintenance.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu spoke to East Godavari district officials and ordered for immediate relief measures.
The cause of the Tuesday accident was not clear.More news: Messi: It Would Be Terrible If Neymar Joined Real!
More news: Prime Members Get Magic Mushroom Discounts At Whole Foods
More news: Government Officials Drive The George Soros Foundation Out Of Hungary
"Though heavy gales played a role in the mishap, the boat owner and his staff are allegedly at fault as they failed to rescue the passengers when the launch was sinking", Mr Naidu said.
Speaking to TNM, a local CPI (M) leader, Venkat Rao said, "It is really unfortunate that among the passengers who drowned, there are people who came to meet revenue authorities at Indukurupeta regarding rehabilitation matters". Divers went down to the bottom of the river bed and tied ropes to the capsized boat while the personnel on the shore pulled the ropes, with their bare hands, and recovered some trapped bodies inside. Condolences to the bereaved families. "They had locked the windows and door to escape the rain and had no chance to escape when the boat capsized". Helicopters from Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, carrying expert divers, reached Devipatnam on Wednesday morning and began an aerial survey to trace the boat.
Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister N Chinarajappa directed officials to send NDRF teams to the accident area.