(New Delhi) A double-decker boat carrying more than 30 passengers capsized off a beach in southern India overnight from Sunday to Monday local time, killing at least 22 people, including children.
“The boat is being brought to shore and other bodies are expected to be recovered from inside,” Sports Minister V Abdurahiman told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency. , adding that four people in critical condition had been admitted to hospital.
Children who had come for a ride on the boat during their school holidays are among the victims, said the minister.
The cause of the capsizing of the tourist boat which occurred near Thoovaltheeram beach in Tanur, a coastal town in Malappuram district, Kerala state, remained unknown shortly after the incident.
The state’s chief minister, who will visit the area on Monday, took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the families of the victims and asked district authorities to oversee the rescue operations.
Monday has been declared an official day of mourning, PTI reported, citing a government statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the loss of life” and announced in a tweet the award of compensation to the families of the victims.
Boating accidents are common in India, where many boats are overloaded and have inadequate safety equipment.
In September 2020, 12 people drowned when a tourist boat capsized on the Godavari River in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. In May 2018, 30 people died when a boat capsized in the same area.