Three more bodies recovered from Thekkady lake, toll 44

Last Updated: Sat, Oct 03, 2009 15:00 hrs

, Oct 3 (IANS) Three more bodies, including those of a four-year-old and her mother, were found floating near the site where a boat capsized Wednesday in Thekkady lake of Kerala's Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, taking the toll in the tragedy to 44, officials said Saturday.

The bodies were found when a diving team comprising naval, police and forest personnel resumed the search in the morning, a police official said.

The bodies of the child and her mother, both from Tamil Nadu, were recovered Saturday morning, while that of 15-year-old Apoorva, from Andhra Pradesh, was found in the afternoon.

'The search operations for the day have been called off but will resume tomorrow (Sunday) because one person is still unaccounted for,' said the official.

Apoorva's 19-year-old brother is still untraced.

Idukki Superintendent of Police P.K. Kuttapayi said they had information that a couple from Mysore in Karnataka, who had viisted Thekkady, had not returned home.

'But we don't know if they were here,' Kuttapayi told IANS.

The double-decker boat owned by the state-run Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) capsized Wednesday evening.

The were 14 victims from Tamil Nadu, 12 from Delhi, six from Andhra Pradesh, five from West Bengal, three each from Karnataka and Kerala and one from Mumbai.

The fiberglass boat had been pressed into service just last month.

Chief Boat Inspector M. Mathews Friday gave a clean chit to the boat and said the incident might have occurred because the driver made a quick turn. KTDC Saturday suspended boat driver Victor Samuel and two other staff members.

Samuel, who is convalescing in a hospital near here, had earlier said that he was not experienced enough to drive the new boat.

KTDC Managing Director K.G. Mohanlal has begun an inquiry into the accident, apart from a probe by the crime branch of the police.

More from Sify: