More missing in Saptakoshi boat capsize

Gaighat, September 18

It is reported that the number of missing in the Saptakoshi boat capsize at Rajabas of Sunsari yesterday, has risen.

According to Sunsari Police, they had collected 10 complaints from the kin of the missing till 10:00am today.

Security personnel have surmised that the number of missing could rise.

The boat traveling to Prakashpur from Sri Lanka Island in Koshi Tappu had capsized in the river yesterday at 11:00am.

Security personnel and the locals had rescued as many as 37 persons soon after the incident.

According to Sunsari SP Posh Raj Pokhrel, the number of missing must be at least 10. Of them, many are children and women.

The number went up as they calculated the number of people staying in the Sri Lanka Island yesterday and today. Security personnel had reported that only five persons had gone missing yesterday evening.

The missing have been identified as seven-year-old Rekha Jha, Mina Jha, 25, her three-year-old daughter Punam, Parbati Chandrabansi, 45, Sakuntala Chandrabansi, 40, of Mahendranagar–4, Sunsari. Similarly, Sita Kabirath, 30, of Prakashpur–4, Tana Devi Yadav, 55 and Majhi Tufani Chandrabansi of Prakashpur–5; while two minors are yet to be identified. Tufani was working as boatman for the past 30 years.

According to police, as many as 59 persons had boarded the boat from Sri Lanka Island and three others had boarded from Shishuwa. Police have surmised that the boat with 25 persons capacity was overloaded with more than 60 passengers.

SP Pokhrel said that search for the missing had started from early morning today.

Though five teams, including Nepali Army, Nepal Police and locals had carried out the search operation from early morning, nobody found anything till evening.

Many of the victims had boarded the boar to attend the Saturday fair in Prakashpur.

“There is no option but to use the boat throughout the year while going to the island,” said social activist Sunbir Rai.

Earlier, more than two dozen persons had gone missing in two boat capsizes in the river. Following the incidents, Sunsari and Udaypur administration had directed boat operators to use life jacket and keep proper records.

Sunsari Chief District Officer Mohan Chapagain said that this incident had occurred as they didn’t use life-jackets. “We have initiated investigation into the incident. Action will be taken against the guilty,” said CDO Chapagain.