18 dead, 20 missing as boat capsizes in Uttar Pradesh (Second Lead)June 14th, 2010 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, June 14 (IANS) At least 18 people drowned and 20 were reported missing when a boat capsized in the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district Monday, police said.
There were around 65 people in the boat when the accident took place near Ujwalia bank in Ballia, some 300 km from Lucknow.
According to the police, those in the boat were going midstream to perform rituals related to the ‘mundan’ ceremony of their children.
“As per information reaching our office, 18 bodies have been taken out till now. Around 20 people are still missing. Several people managed to swim ashore,” police spokesperson Abhai Kumar told IANS over telephone.
According to District Magistrate Senthil Pandiyan, rescue operation was underway.
“At least 10 people were rescued with the help of police and divers. All are undergoing treatment at a hospital,” Pandiyan told IANS.
“We fear that the death toll will climb up as several people are still missing. We are not able to ascertain the exact number of the people who were in the boat as they were from different villages,” he added.
According to the police, prima-facie it appeared that the accident took place because of “over-loading”.
“The boat could only ferry 25-30 people. But, at the time of accident, the boat had people twice its capacity,” Inspector Shobhnath Yadav told reporters.
Ram Sumer (50), a survivor, told reporters: “The boat’s condition was also very bad. It was an old boat. When the boat flipped over, the boatman, instead of saving us, fled.”
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