(RepublicanJournal.org) – Many people take boats out each year, whether it’s for fishing or recreation. There are specific safety guidelines to follow when sailing, to help minimize the risk, including wearing life vests and limiting the number of passengers on the vessel. Failing to follow them can lead to accidents and have disastrous consequences.
A school in Vadodara, India, recently planned an outing for teachers and students on Harani Lake, but things went horribly wrong when the boat, carrying more than two dozen people, capsized. Some locals immediately began trying to rescue the kids, before officials arrived onsite. India Today reported that at least 13 students and two teachers died in the accident and that none were reportedly wearing life jackets. Between the locals and fire service officials, they were able to pull 11 students to safety.
The blame for the accident has been placed on the boat contractor, who officials say allowed more people on the vessel than the maximum capacity of 16. The children who died were between the ages of 7 and 13. One official said, “The government will be asked to take strict action against the contractor.”
Chief minister of India’s Gujarat state, Bhupendra Patel, who visited the accident site, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, saying that the Vadodara District Magistrate would be conducting “a high-level inquiry into the Harani Lake disaster.”
હરણી તળાવની દુર્ઘટનાની ઉચ્ચસ્તરીય તપાસ કરવાનો નિર્ણય રાજ્ય સરકારે કર્યો છે. આ ઘટનાની વડોદરા જિલ્લા મેજિસ્ટ્રેટશ્રી દ્વારા તપાસ હાથ ધરવામાં આવશે.
આ દુર્ઘટનામાં થયેલ બેદરકારી અક્ષમ્ય છે. કયા સંજોગોમાં, કયા કારણોથી અને કોની બેજવાબદારીના લીધે આ ઘટના બની તેની તપાસ કરવામાં આવશે.
— Bhupendra Patel (@Bhupendrapbjp) January 18, 2024
ANI posted video footage of him at the scene.
#WATCH | Vadodara boat capsize incident | Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel along with Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi met the injured in the boat capsize incident, at SSG hospital in Vadodara.
(Source: Gujarat Information Department) pic.twitter.com/GflMVFShkN
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2024
The Indian government is paying for the families of the deceased and injured as well, according to Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel. He said families of those who died would receive Rs 4 lakh (around $4,800) and the injured would receive Rs 50,000 (just over $600).
Sadly, boat accidents are nothing new in India. Overcrowding of vessels has led to several accidents over the last few years. In May 2023, a double-decker boat carrying more than 30 passengers capsized, killing 22 in Kerala state, a popular tourist destination.
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