A 14-member Indian Navy team on Wednesday joined the search operations to trace three people, including a girl, who were reported missing after their boat capsized in the Eco Park Lake in Ukhrul district of Manipur.
The Navy team, including 12 divers and two hydrographers (survey sailors), were airlifted from Visakhapatnam by an IAF aircraft to Imphal on Tuesday evening.
They started the search on Wednesday morning but had to halt the operation due to inclement weather triggered by rain, poor visibility and strong winds. The officers said they would resume the search on Thursday morning.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh thanked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for sending the team of deep water diving experts.
A total of 12 tourists were travelling on the boat in the Eco Park Lake near the Maphou dam on Sunday afternoon when a sudden storm upturned it in the middle of the lake. Rani, Rajiv and Romen of the same family went missing in the incident while the others survived. Teams of NDRF, SDRF and fire service initiated the rescue operation.
Following the incident, the Chief Minister announced that only boats manufactured by government-approved companies will be allowed in all the lakes and waterbodies in Manipur. The government has already issued a notification in this regard.
However, the tribal villagers around the Eco Park, who use the makeshift boats for transporting items and visiting each other in different villages, said that they will not be able to afford the costly mechanised boats.
District Collector Kenju Yuringla said, “Rescue operations is being carried out in full swing. There is inordinate delay as the lake is deep.”
Congress MLA Govindas Konthoujam, who is a relative of the three missing persons, drew the attention of the government to lack of safety measures. Ms. Yuringla said if safety measures like life jackets were enforced, the three persons would not have gone missing.
(With PTI inputs)