Death toll in the Thekkady boat capsize rose to 41 with the recovery of 10 bodies on Thursday, at least two people were still missing when search operations were called off due to bad light, the searches will resume Friday morning.
While media reports continued to blast the state establishment for the tragedy the emerging picture in Thekkady was one of solidarity that brought droves of people out to the lakeside to join in prayers for the missing.
Tensions were writ large on the faces as lips moved in whispered prayer for the safety of a friend, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or even a stranger one had never met.
Establishments in Thekkady and Kumily areas downed shutters as a mark of respect for the departed souls and family members could be seen making arrangements to take their dead back home.
Some two dozen ambulances were summoned from neighbouring districts to aid in the operations.
The state forest department ordered the suspension of all boat operations in the Thekkady lake until further orders.
In what is being described as the worst ever tourism-related tragedy in the state, ‘Jalakanya’ — a twin deck boat owned by the state tourism corporation – capsized with 74 tourists on board on Wednesday evening.
The accident occurred when several of the tourists on board the vessel moved to one side of the deck to sight an animal at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, which stands along the periphery of the Thekkady lake.