Chilika Boat Tragedy: Assistant Driver Arrested

Bhubaneswar: Police on Monday arrested the co-driver of the boat that capsized in Chilika Lake on June 16. Six persons had died in the mishap.

The accused identified as Arjun Behera was arrested by a team of Balugaon police from his house at Samantarapur in Khurda district.

Police earlier on June 17 had arrested the owner of the ill-fated boat, Basant Behera.

A day after receiving the probe report from the Director, State Port and Inland Water Transport on the Chilika boat mishap, Commerce and Transport minister Nrusingha Charan Sahu had said that action would be taken against the boat owner.

According to the report, apart from the strong wind, poor condition of the boat was also one of the causes of the tragic incident. There were small cracks in the boat which capsized after the lake water gushed in through them.

Though the boat had 20 life jackets, the passengers were not provided with the life-saving kit, the report revealed.

On June 16, a country boat carrying 15 passengers with two boatmen capsized in the gorge of the lake due to strong wind and thundershower while they were returning from Kalijai Temple at around 5.30 pm.

While six tourists died in the mishap, nine others were rescued by a joint team of the Balugan Boat Owners’ Association, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, Fire Brigade, local fishermen and scuba divers.

While the bodies of two persons were recovered late that evening, those of four others were fished out of the lake during the 17-hour search operation the following day.

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