Boat tragedy: Coast Guard calls off search ops as all students accounted for
A day after a ferry capsized in the Dahanu creek in Maharashtra's Palghar district, the Coast Guard, which had resumed the search operations this morning, subsequently called them off after confirming that 32 of the 35 students on the boat were rescued while three drowned.
The police had yesterday said that three girls drowned and five were feared missing after the private boat, "Dahanu Queen", carrying around 40 students on a picnic capsized off the Dahanu coast.
The boat was carrying students of the Ponda School and Junior College in Parnaka in Dahanu when it capsized, Superintendent of Police, Palghar, Manjunath Singe had said.
A Coast Guard (CG) spokesperson had yesterday said that a total of 35 students were accounted for and that search operations were on to trace those missing.
The total number of students on board the boat was not confirmed yesterday.
However, a senior CG officer today said the boat was carrying 35 students, of whom three drowned.
"There were 35 students in the capsized boat, of whom three drowned. We have rescued all the remaining students and sent them for treatment to the local hospitals," Varun Augustya, CG Commandant, Dahanu Station, told PTI.
He added that the CG decided to call off the search operations after the school authorities and district administration confirmed the exact number of students on the boat.
"We had deployed one interceptor craft, along with two helicopters, yesterday. We continued with them today as well before we called off the operations," Augustya said.
He added that their counterparts in Daman assisted in the search operations.
The commandant said the CG was now focussing its attention on the rescue operation to trace the missing crew members of the Pawan Hans helicopter, which had crashed off the Mumbai coast yesterday.
The helicopter, with seven people on board -- five ONGC officers and two pilots -- had crashed minutes after it took off for the state-owned company's oil installation in the Arabian Sea.
Earlier in the morning, a CG helicopter took off to search the waters around the Dahanu creek.
The CG station at Dahanu coordinated with the local authorities and school staff before confirming the number of students on board the ill-fated boat.
Three persons, including the owner of the boat, were arrested by the Palghar police late last evening.
The deceased girls were identified as Sonal Bhagwan Surati, Janhavi Harish Surati and Sanskruti Mayavanshi, all aged 17, Singe had said yesterday.
All three were residents of Masauli in Dahanu's Ambedkar Nagar area.
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