At least 22 persons were killed when a crowded tourist boat sank in India’s southern state of Kerala.
The death toll may grow when rescue efforts continue on Monday and the vessel is dragged from the muddy seas.
According to Abdul Nazar, junior superintendent of police for the Malappuram district, the double-decker boat capsized due to overcrowding.
When the boat overturned on Sunday night, it was carrying approximately 50 people, or double its capacity.
The owner of the yacht, who is reportedly missing, was charged with culpable homicide by authorities on Monday.
On Twitter, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his sympathies, saying he was “painted by the loss of lives.”
According to local media, many passengers were trapped beneath the boat, and the darkness hampered rescue efforts. Women and children on vacation were among those killed.
According to Kerala’s sports and fisheries minister, V Abdurahiman, at least four people who were rushed to the hospital are in severe condition.
It was not immediately known how many passengers had gone missing. Authorities said they were looking into the cause of the accident and if the boat had a valid permit.
Shameer, a lifeguard involved in the rescue effort, told Mathrubhumi news that “the boat was completely upside down” when rescuers arrived at the scene. “I recovered four bodies and none of them had life jackets on.”
According to survivors, many of the other passengers were not wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.
Ambika, a Tanur resident, told Manorama news station that when she initially spotted the boat approaching, everyone looked to be “cheering happily.”
“But suddenly the lights went out, the boat sank and the cheers were replaced with screams for help,” she said.
Ms Ambika went on to say that she immediately called the police for assistance. “But we couldn’t do anything else because it was getting dark and we couldn’t reach the passengers.”
Boat accidents are common in India, where vessels are frequently overloaded, poorly maintained, and lacking in safety measures.
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