Capsized ferry kills 6 and leads to attack on MP’s house
- Four schoolchildren among victims
- Muslim Congress MP’s house attacked
- Eastern Province Governor orders probe
Six people, including four schoolchildren, were reported dead after a ferry capsized in the Kuringankerni lagoon in Kinniya, Trincomalee, sparking an attack by area residents on the residence of a Parliamentarian and the Eastern Province Governor ordering a probe into the ferry accident.
The Police announced that in addition to the six fatalities, 11 others have sustained injuries and have been admitted to the Kinniya Hospital.
The ferry had been used by residents in the area due to the construction of the existing Kuringankerni Bridge. The salvage divers of the Navy and the Police launched a joint effort to rescue the missing people.
Following the incident, residents of the Kuringankerni area attacked the house of Trincomalee District MP M.S. Thowfeek of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), severely damaging the house.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath directed Eastern Province Commissioner of Local Government N. Manivannan to conduct a probe into the ferry accident in Kinniya in which six lives were claimed.
She has given instructions to expedite the inquiry into the incident and to brief her of the officials who granted permission to operate and maintain the ferry across the Kuringankerni lagoon and other particulars of the incident.
Further, the Governor directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Trincomalee District to carry out a special police investigation on the fatal accident.
Conveying her condolences to the family members and relatives of the victims, the Governor urged the residents of the area to remain calm for the moment.
Meanwhile, SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa requested the Government to provide concessions to the families affected by the tragedy.
He also called for the initiation of an investigation into the legality of the ferry and how it was operated.
However, State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza said permission to operate a passenger ferry across the Kuringankerni lagoon was granted by the Kinniya Urban Council, where the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the SLMC hold the majority.
State Minister Lanza stressed that the Opposition’s move to put the blame on the Government for the ferry accident is unacceptable.
Speaking further, he said an investigation into the matter will be conducted.
SLMC Leader and SJB MP Rauff Hakeem claimed that the tragedy was a result of a ferry with low safety standards being allowed to operate.
“The Road Development Authority was going to provide a ferry that would provide transport to people free of charge, but approval was not given to the ferry they were on,” he said.