Vessel capsizes during Champakulam Moolam snake boat race in Kerala: 22 oarswomen sustain minor injuries

The incident took place during the historic Champakulam Moolam boat race on the Pampa River in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.

ByGeorge Michael

Published Jul 03, 2023 | 11:46 PMUpdatedJul 03, 2023 | 11:47 PM

Boat overturned during exhibition

The historic Champakulam Moolam boat race on the picturesque Pampa River in the Alappuzha district of Kerala witnessed an unfortunate incident on Monday, 3 July when a snake boat occupied by a team of capsized.

In all, 22 of the oarswomen sustained minor injuries when the snake boat named Thekenodi Chundan capsized during what is one of the oldest boat race tournaments in the history of Kerala.

Despite the harrowing incident, all the individuals on board were rescued in a timely manner.

The oarswomen were all good swimmers and were quickly taken out of the water, with help arriving instantly.

The boat accident is said to have occurred during an exhibition clash between the Thekenodi Chundan, representing the Champakulam Panchayat, and a snake boat from the neighbouring Nedumudi Panchayat.

It was allegedly caused due to the negligence of the organisers, who initiated two boat race events simultaneously, causing confusion, said eyewitnesses.

Following the distressing incident, the injured oarswomen were transported to the Champakulam Taluk Hospital for medical attention.

A decision was made to temporarily halt the remaining matches of the boat race tournament.

Read More: Nehru Trophy snake boat race held with traditional fervour

The race’s legacy

The Champakulam Moolam boat race, an event deeply ingrained in the Kuttanad region’s history and traditions, has witnessed countless moments of exhilaration and celebration over the years.

It serves as a platform for showcasing the exceptional skills and coordination of oarsmen and oarswomen, who dedicate themselves to months of rigorous training for this grand spectacle.

One of the oldest traditions of Kerala, the Champakulam Boat Race Festival started in the 1500s.

Fondly referred to as the Champakulam Moolam Vallamkali, the race uses traditional snake boats.

These Chundan Vallams are a symbol of Kerala’s centuries-old expertise in naval architecture.

Also read: Kerala’s houseboats, enchanting views hide death of Vembanad