Kochi boat accident toll now eight  

Kochi, Aug 27 (IANS) With the recovery of two more bodies on Thursday, the death toll in the Kochi boat accident has touched eight, police said.

The accident took place on Wednesday afternoon when a motor boat was hit by a fishing boat and broke up near Fort Kochi. According to a witness, the fishing boat was reversing when it hit the passenger boat.

The passenger boat was carrying over 30 people who were going to Vypeen island from Fort Kochi. Six bodies were recovered on Wednesday.

Police took a crew member of the fishing boat in their custody.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has announced a probe into the accident.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh would be paid to the families of each of the dead and Rs.1 lakh to those who have been critically injured.

Justice (retd) K. Narayana Kurup, who had headed the inquiry commission into the Kumarakom boat tragedy in 2002 that killed 27 people, said the Kochi tragedy could have been avoided had they implemented his recommendation of appointing a safety commissioner.

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