MALAPPURAM: Tragedy struck on Wednesday evening at Areekode in Malappuram when a ferry carrying nearly 50 school children capsized in the Chaliyar River. Seven boys and one girl of the Plus One and Plus Two classes of Moorkkanad Sullamusallam Higher Secondary School were killed in the mishap. The victims have been identified as Suhail Pe rumbarambu, son of Aboobacker; Mushthiq, son of M C Bava, Kizhissery; Thoufeeq Palappatta; Shahidali, son of Shoukat Ali, Kozhakkottoor; Siraj Kuniyil; Shihab Velleri; Shameem Irivetti and Thohiba Kozhakkottoor. One student, Jithin Joseph of Pathanapuram, has been admitted to the critical care unit at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
Two other students, admitted to the hospital, are in critical condition.
The boat, used by the locals to travel across the river, capsized in the middle of the Chaliyar when the children were on their way back home. The incident was reported around 4.30 in the evening.
Most of the students in the boat managed to swim to the shore. The few who were caught under the boat were the ones who could not escape death.
Some students who were good swimmers even succeeded in saving many of their friends.
The bodies of the eight students are at Areekode Community Health Centre. The postmortem will be done at Areekode itself as per the information.
Those who were rescued after the mishap were first taken to Areekode CHC and then to Manjeri District Hospital, nearly 16 kilometres from the accident spot, for treatment. A medical team under the Malappuram DMO and a team from Kozhikode Medical College Hospital treated the injured.
According to eye witnesses the boat capsized when students stood up in the boat when it reached the middle of the river.
The rescue operations were carried out by sand mining workers who were quite familiar with the condition of the river. The Fire and Rescue Services and the police, along with the locals, took part in the rescue operations.
District Collector M C Mohandas has ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.