Twenty two people — nine women, seven children and six men, were killed when a van hit the railings of Dowleswaram Cotton Barrage near Rajahmundry and fell into the Godavari in the early hours of Saturday.
The deceased, belonging to Ramaiahpeta of Atchyutapuram mandal in Visakhapatnam district, were returning from Tirupati via Vijayawada.
Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa reached the spot.
The deceased were identified as Eegala Ramana, Venkat, Raju, Seenamma, Rambabu, Kondatalli, Prasad, Kanaka, Kosamma, Apparao (driver of the van), Gopi, Sai, Poorna, Namit, Karthik, Navya, Sandhya and Pavan.
Eegala Kiran (7) is being treated in a hospital.
Rajahmundry Urban SP S. Harikrishna said the accident took place between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
According to A. Sivaji Raju, Inspector of Police, Dowleswaram, one of the morning walkers on the Barrage made a phone call to the police at 5.45 a.m. and informed about the accident.
“We did not have any equipment to turn the van in which all passengers were struck. However, with the help of local fishermen, we put the van intact and lifted the bodies one after the other. We saw two children alive and immediately rushed them to nearest hospital in an auto,” said head constable Ramakrishna.
All the bodies were shifted to government hospital in Rajahmundry for post mortem.