Even as two people drowned in Goa after a dilapidated Portuguese-era bridge collapsed into the river on Thursday, search operations got hampered on Friday due to unforeseen circumstances. It is being reported that the divers from the Navy who have been involved in rescue operations have been facing a potential threat of crocodiles in the water body and this causing massive hindrance in the efforts to find those who had fallen into the river. The Navy officials spoke to IANS and said that the crocodiles have also been seen by the locals. The Navy also said that they have instituted separate patrolling and lookout for crocodiles in the river.
“Chetak helicopters in search and rescue role … to search downstream. Terrain hilly and clouded,” the Navy said. Meanwhile, the district officials told the media that the body count had gone up to 3 when they had recovered the body of Prakash Ekka, a 28-year-old, hailing from the state of Jharkhand. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had also reacted to the unfortunate incident on Thursday and had informed reporters that 30-35 people had already been rescued or had managed to swim away from the harm. The bridge had collapsed in Curchorem village, which lies just 45 km away from Panaji.
There has been no official statement made about the number of missing people. Reports state that the unfortunate incident had occurred when a crowd had assembled on the bridge in an attempt to dissuade a person who was seemingly trying to commit suicide on Thursday. Superintendent of Police of South Goa, S Prabhudesai told IANS that various agencies, including the forces from Navy, the coast guard and a private lifeguard agency were on patrol to locate the missing people in the river. He said, “We are trying to establish how many people are missing by interviewing witnesses”.