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Boat accident claims lives of at least 22 tourists in southern India


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At least 22 people drowned when a double-decker boat carrying more than 30 passengers capsized off a beach in southern India later on Sunday, officials confirmed.

Police officer Abdul Nizar said rescue teams expect to recover more bodies from inside the boat after it was pulled ashore from the muddy waters.

He added that the Indian National Disaster Response Force and Indian Coast Guard personnel are involved in the rescue work and are trying to find those still missing.

The tourist boat capsized near the mouth of the Burapuzha River in Tanur, a coastal town in Malappuram district of Kerala state. Most of the passengers were tourists.

Nizar said that the authorities are investigating the cause of the accident and it appears that the boat capsized due to overcrowding.

Among the dead were children who had come to ride the boat during their school vacation, Abdul Rahman’s Sports Minister told the Press Trust of India news agency, adding that four people in critical condition were taken to hospital.

The chief minister of the state, who will visit the area on Monday, tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and urged the district authorities to supervise the rescue operation.

Monday was declared an official day of mourning, the agency reported, quoting a government statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the loss of life” and announced compensation to the families of the victims in a tweet.

Boat accidents are common in India, where many ships are overcrowded and do not have adequate safety equipment.

In September 2019, 12 people drowned when a sightseeing boat capsized on the swollen Godavari River in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. In May 2018, 30 people died when a boat capsized in the same area.

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