Vijayawada, May 11 (IANS) At least 120 tourists had a narrow escape when a boat caught fire on the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Friday, police said.
The incident occurred when the tourists were on a boat ride to Papikondalu, known for its wildlife sanctuary and hills.
Some of the tourists were injured as they jumped to safety after the driver brought the boat to the shore. A few tourists became unconscious due to the shock, police said.
The fire broke out when tea was being prepared on a gas stove. The gas leak apparently caused the fire, spreading panic among the tourists including women and children.
Survivors said the gas cylinder then exploded, making the fire spread. Showing presence of mind, the driver wheeled the boat towards the shore. The passengers managed to escape but the entire boat was gutted.
Locals and the police in Veeravarapu Lanka village helped the shocked tourists. The fire broke out 10 minutes after the boat sailed from Poshammagudi.
Andhra Pradesh tourism department officials said the boat belonged to a private operator. They have ordered an investigation if it was being operated with the permission of the authorities concerned.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directed the East Godavari district collector to provide all necessary assistance to the tourists.