38 jawans missing in Chitrakonda boat tragedy

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Malkangiri, Jun 29 (UNI) As many as 38 personnel including 32 Greyhound' jawans of Andhra Pradesh went missing after a motor boat carrying 63 people capsized in the Chitrakonda reservoir during an encounter with the Naxalites today.

When contacted Malkangiri's Superintendent of Police S K Gojbhiye said so far 25 'Greyhound' jawans have been rescued, eight of them managed to reach the shore while 38 jawans, including 32 Greyhound, two Orissa constables and four home guards besides the boatman were missing.

He said five Greyhound jawans who received bullet injuries in the encounter were airlifted to Visakhpatanam as their condition became critical. Another six injured were being treated at the Chitrakonda hospital.

The rescue operation, Mr Gojbhiye said, was still continuing in the area. Both the Andhra Pradesh and the Orissa Police, he said were finding it tough to approach the difficult terrain where the mishap took place.

The boat, carrying 63 jawans, capsized near Janbai when armed Naxalites opened fire at the 'Greyhound' jawans returning after a combing operation in the cut off areas on the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border.

The SP said the Naxalites, who were hiding at a place close to Janabai in the Chitrakonda reservoir, opened fire when the boat approached a narrow passage.

Police apprehended that some of the jawans might have been drowned in the reservoir which was full to the brim.

The SP said search operation was on to trace the missing jawans and Vishakhapatnam Police had been requested to press a helicopter in the rescue operation.

The 'Greyhound' team was entering Orissa from West Vishakhapatnam district for combing operation in the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border when the Naxalites attacked them.

The team was scheduled to go back to Andhra Pradesh after the combing operation was over when the tragedy struck, the SP said.

UNI DP PC AKJ VC2012

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