The last few moments inside the ill-fated boat ‘Jalakanyaka’ were captured in a video film taken by a tourist who was filming wild animals when the mishap occurred. Though the video camera was destroyed, the memory card received by the police has scenes of the last few moments.
It was a film shot by Alka Kaura (20), daughter of Arun Kumar and Renu Kaura from New Delhi, who died along with her sister Stuti Kaura, in the boat that capsized in Thekkady river on September 30. The accident claimed 45 lives.
Kumily Circle Inspector of Police Anil Srinivas told The Hindu on Tuesday that the memory card contains scenes of the family members at the boat-landing station in Thekkady before the trip commenced.
The family lived in Pachim Vihar, New Delhi and was on a pleasure trip in Kerala. The scenes of the last few moments inside the boat while it capsized included shots of people trying to escape from the boat and their loud cries in the lower deck of the two-deck boat owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDSC).
The memory card was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team, which is inquiring into the cause of the accident. Mr. Srinavas said the film is a crucial document that provides leads to the investigation as it contains the last scenes of the accident which shook the entire State.
It was believed that the tourists had all at once moved to one side after sighting wild animals. The sudden turning of the boat to the right and the concentration of the crowd on one side have been cited as reasons for the accident.
“The last scene includes the loud cries of possibly Shalika Gogiah from Haryana, who also died in the accident,” Mr Srinivas said, and added that the scene then fades way.
The police have also recovered a memory card from a still camera from the boat consisting of pictures of a four-member group of youths from Tamil Nadu. Except the person who took the photograph, all others survived the accident.
Recently, the police handed over the memory card and the damaged camera to the relatives of the victim who reached Kumily to receive the belongings. The main scene in the memory card included photographs of the boat-landing station, but not of any from inside the boat, Mr. Srinivas said.