Avoidable disaster?

Urge to click selfies may have caused boat tragedy in Maharashtra

maharashtra-boat-tragedy-ani People gathering at the seashore in Dahanu during the rescue operations | ANI

Two teenage girls were killed and six others were missing after a boat carrying 40 students for a picnic capsized off the Dahanu coast in Maharashtra on Saturday, an official said.

Hundreds of parents crowded the Parnaka Beach, wailing and crying as bodies of the two girls were fished out of the Arabian Sea after the tragedy struck the picnickers of the K.L. Ponda High School and Junior College.

However, 32 of the children were rescued in a massive search and rescue operation, launched after the students fell into waters around 5km in the sea off the beach.

A combined team of the Indian Coast Guard along with the police and maritime authorities were searching for the remaining six students amid fears of rising casualties.

The bodies of the two students recovered have been identified as Sonal Surti and Jahnvi Surti, both 17, from Ambedkar Nagar area of Dahanu, the official said.

The students were out on an annual picnic.

According to eyewitness accounts, the tragedy was apparently triggered when some students reportedly crowded on one side of the boat to click selfies, resulting in the loss of balance as the vessel capsized.

Officials, however, have declined to comment on this.

A combined sea and air operation was on and the local fishing community has also pitched in for the rescue operation.

The Coast Guard has diverted at least three ships and two aircraft to the site.

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