The toll in the Hirakud boat tragedy in Odisha's Sambalpur district today went up to 31 with recovery of the bodies of the three remaining missing persons. "Three more bodies have been recovered from the Hirakud reservoir where the tragedy took place on Sunday.
With this, bodies of all the 31 people have been recovered," Sambalpur sub-collector Surendra Kumar Panda said. The three bodies have been identified as those of Sampad Saraf, Ishan Neotia, and Shruti Agrawal. Officials expressed surprise at the drowning of Sampad Saraf who was an expert swimmer and had rescued a number of people during the motorised boat capsize. The search operation were made by scuba divers, personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, fire brigade and the police, Panda said. The National Disaster Response Force has been urged to help in salvaging the sunken boat. The Sambalpur police filed an FIR at the Hirakud Police Station naming the boat owner Satyanarayan Pande and two others. All the three were absconding, the police said. Revenue Division Commissioner P Meherda began investigation into the tragedy during the day. Meanwhile, the Puri district administration has stopped vessel services in Chilika lake. The service was run on behalf of the Chilika Development Authority from Satapada Ghat to Janhikuda Ghat covering a distance of five km.