New Delhi: At least 16 people, including women and children, died on Sunday after a boat packed with 38 passengers capsized in a river in southern India, police said.
Police in the city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh state said they recovered at least 16 bodies from Krishna River where the accident took place.
“Rescue operations are on and they will continue until all have been traced,” a local police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Local fishermen swung into action and rescued 15 passengers, the Press Trust of India reported.
The state’s tourism minister ordered an inquiry into the incident while Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu expressed his condolences on Twitter.
The accident took place in Krishna river about 25 kilometres from Vijayawada city, district administrative chief B. Lakshmikantham told Reuters.
The administration was investigating what exactly caused the incident, but the initial probe found that the private boat operator did not have the necessary permission to ferry people, Lakshmikantham said.
Boat accidents are common in India, mainly because of overcrowding, poor maintenance and lax safety on ferries.
Twenty people died in September when a boat packed with labourers capsized on the Yamuna river in northern India.
Around 20 of the roughly 35 people on the boat were rescued and search operations were continuing, India’s National Disaster Response Force said on Twitter.