Little Ansa recounts Boat capsize horror


‘Looking for my sister, I ran on waters as if I was walking on a road’


SRINAGAR, Apr 17: Lying flat on a hospital bed in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) Srinagar, little Ansa is trying hard to come out of the big shock of boat capsize that claimed six lives including two minor students. Ansa was with her mother and younger sister on the ill-fated boat the wheel of which catapulted leaving behind a tale of death and grief.

Ansa, a class 8 student at Kendri Vidalya, said on the chilly morning of April 16, her mother told her to pack her bag and prepare for the school after almost a gap of 15 days which includes Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. “I told my mother I didn’t want to go to school, but she insisted and I along with my younger sister packed our bags,” she said. “My should start at 8:30 sharp and we were supposed to reach at 8 am. My mother, me and my sister were the first three to board the boat. The boatman had ferried many people till then and crossed the river several times.”

Ansa said she saw a few students, a local resident along with a cycle, and a few non-J&K labourers boarding the boat. “One thing I noticed with my mother initially was that there was a lot of noise in the river Jehlum. That was something which panicked us at the beginning,” she said. “My mother held my hands tightly. Someone in the boat told the boatman to hold the rope softly as water level was very high in the river and not to put much pressure on it. All was well till we reached the middle of the river.”

As the boat reached the middle of the river, rope got cut and the boat hit one of the Iron pillars of the upcoming bridge. “I couldn’t even understand whether I was in the river or on a road. I started running to search for my younger sister and mother as if I was on a road. I couldn’t find my sister anywhere. I was looking for my sister when water was over my head,” Ansa said. “What happened after that, I don’t remember at all..” She, however, urged the J&K administration to complete the footbridge as soon as possible so that such incidents are prevented. “I want the bridge to be completed within a month. If the Administration wants, it can do that..,” she said.

Ansa, her mother and her younger sister were lucky as all of them survived. Just discharged by the doctors at SMHS hospital, Ansa’s mother Irshada said she can never forget the day. “I am yet to come to terms. Thanks to Almighty. I feel that I am still in the boat. The horrific incident is still fresh in my mind,” she said in the hospital corridor. “The young faces of the students who were in front of my eyes in the boat are so fresh that they may remain for long…It is hard to forget them.”

Irshada’s youngest daughter Ayesha was admitted at Childrens’ hospital and has been discharged. “She is also in shock. I sent Ayesha to her maternal home. She has to take medicine for some time,” she said.

On Tuesday, a boat crossing the river Jehlum from Gandbal to Batwara in Srinagar capsized resulting in the death of six persons including two minor students. Six people were rescued while three are still missing. Ther rescue operation to race the missing ones is still on at various points of river Jehlum—(KNO)


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