HYDERABAD: A boat carrying over two dozen pilgrims capsized in the Indus River off Shah Bunder coast in Thatta district on Wednesday, killing 11 people.
The vessel was carrying 28 pilgrims to the shrine of Sufi saint Allah Dino Mandhro and it capsized while saving a motorcycle on board from falling into the river.
“Seventeen pilgrims managed to swim ashore,” Ameer Bux Jat of the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum told The Express Tribune. Eight goats and five motorcycles were also on board the ferry, he added.
Local fishermen and Pakistan Navy’s divers have fished out five bodies, so far. Another six pilgrims are still missing and are believed to have drowned.
One of the survivors, Qadir Lakho, said the boat lost balance when gusty winds pushed one of the five motorcycles overboard.
“People rushed to grab the falling bike and in doing so made the boat tilt and capsize,” he added.
Captain Shahid of Pakistan Navy supervised the rescue operation which involved a helicopter and several boats.
The pilgrims, mostly from Garrho, Boharo and Mirpur Sakro areas on the right bank of the Indus River, were going to the shrine to attend the Urs celebrations of the Sufi saint.
Despite the whole day search, Pakistan Navy’s divers and local fishermen could not find more survivors. According to the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, it was the eighth boat capsize incident in the coastal belt between Karachi and Thatta since May 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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