3 killed, 20 missing in Andhra boat accident

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Reports say that 14 bodies have been recovered so far.

Earlier this year, 13 people died in a similar incident in the state's Anantapur district.

"According to preliminary investigation, the private agency which was operating the boat did not have a licence from the tourism department", he said. "It capsized near a curve as it approached the Pavitra Sangamam point and most of the people were trapped underneath and were killed", an Assistant Commissioner of Police said.

The passengers were travelling to Pavitra Sangamam to see a daily ritual when the boat lost its balance.

Thirty-eight people were on board when the ferry capsized while turning toward the river bank, officials said.

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The state government on Sunday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs to the families of the bereaved.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been pressed into service to find the missing persons. Of them, 32 belonged to a walkers' association from Ongole in Prakasam district and six from Nellore. Locals rescued 15 people.

On the other hand, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is closely monitoring the rescue and search operations.

Andhra Pradesh Congress committee president N Raghuveera Reddy visited the accident spot and later the hospital.