40 jawans feared dead as boat capsizes after Naxalites fire

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Malkangiri, Jun 29 (UNI) At least 40 'Greyhound' jawans of Andhra Pradesh were feared drowned when a motor launch capsized in the Chitrakonda reservoir in a remote area near Maliguda during an exchange of fire with Naxalites today.

''The boat, carrying about 50 jawans, capsized mid reservoir following the firing by Naxalites,'' Malkangiri Superintendent of Police S K Gojbhiye informed UNI by telephone. He said two Orissa Police constables were accompanying the jawans.

However, eight injured jawans managed to swim ashore and were admitted to the Malkangiri District Headquarters Hospital.

He said a search operation was on to trace the missing 'Greyhound' jawans and Vishakhapatnam Police had been requested to press a helicopter in the rescue operation forthwith.

The accident site,sources said, is about 150 km from here and inaccessible. Neither the Andhra Pradesh nor the Orissa Police were able to approach the site so far.

Police said the 'Greyhound' team was entering Orissa from West Vishakhapatnam district for combing operation 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.

Police fear the chances of the survival of the jawans drowned in the reservoir are remote as the reservoir was full.

Further details are awaited.

UNI BD-DP PL/AKJ RK1452

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