Guwahati, May 1 (IANS) It was perhaps the worst nightmare in his life for Abubakkar Siddique, a passenger on the ferry that capsized in the Brahmaputra river Monday evening in lower Assam's Dhubri district.
Siddique, a school teacher, is one of the lucky 80 people who survived the tragedy and could reach the river bank with the help of local people.
"As usual there were more than 300 people in the ferry. It started from the Kachari ghat in Dhubri town at 2.30 p.m. and it was apparently good weather. The first two hours it was absolutely alright, but the weather condition started deteriorating from about 4.30 p.m. starting with heavy rain and thunderstorms," he said recalling the events before the ferry tragedy that has claimed an estimated 270 lives.
"For most of the people like me, bad weather and rain is not an abnormal thing. Most of us are used to it as the river and ferries are part of our lives. For a resident of Fakirganj, ferry and small machine boats are the only mode of communication when we need to go to Dhubri for various purposes be it official works or personal one," he said.
"However, as the weather deteriorated and there were more thunderstorms, everyone got scared and people started shouting for help. I was sitting on the roof of the ferry. I remember that there were many women and some children too. As the rain became incessant, the ferry started shaking," he said, adding that the strong wind also increased the speed of the ferry.
"We were about to reach the bank but then the ferry lost control due to the wind and hit some concrete structure. I decided to jump and swim to the bank. Later some people pulled me out from the water and I reached the bank," he said.
The boat actually hit a concrete spar, which was erected at a distance from the river bank to stop erosion in the area.
Siddique said the ferry hit the spar at such speed that it broke into two pieces. "I also saw the roof of the ferry collapsing immediately and that, I believe, trapped most of the passengers," said the school teacher.
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