Special Correspondent

Much headway could not be made in search operations due to cold weather conditions

KURNOOL: The search for the bodies of boat tragedy victims did not make much headway on Saturday as the cold weather conditions allowed the bodies to settle at the river bottom.

Nearly 48 hours after the boat accident, a group of local divers from Srisailam recovered the body of Srinivasa Reddy (30) of Nehru Nagar around 3 p.m. An eleven-member team of Navy divers also joined the search operation around the time using rubber boats.

The local divers fished out the body using hooks from the spot of the mishap in the middle of the river. The divers said bodies might have settled at the bottom due to slow process of bloating under the influence of cold weather conditions.

In another major development, the teams found the killer boat floating nearly 5 km upstream near Jataprole in Mahabubnagar district. The boat was towed to the shore. The relations of the victims broke down on seeing the boat that caused the death of over 60 persons.

The crude boat also developed a hole at the bottom and the rope fastening the two edges of the vessel was snapped, obviously due to overloading. According to local people, the boatmen had announced in the villages a few days before the festival offering ferry services for Rs. 10 per head by mechanised boats. But when people turned up at the ferry, they were surprised to see the crude boats.

According to a report from Mahabubnagar Correspondent, swimmers and divers are said to be of little help as they are reportedly hesitating to go deep into the river fearing the attacks of crocodiles.

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