NEW DELHI (AP) — A double-decker boat carrying more than 30 passengers capsized off a beach in southern India on Sunday night, and more than 20 people including children died, local media reported.
“The boat is being hauled ashore and more bodies are expected to be recovered from inside,” Sports Minister V Abdurahiman told the Press Trust of India news agency, adding that four people in critical condition were admitted to a hospital.
The dead included children who had come for a ride on the boat during their school vacation, the minister said.
It’s not clear what caused the tourist boat to overturn near Thoovaltheeram beach in Tanur, a coastal town in Kerala state’s Malappuram district.
The state’s chief minister, who will visit the area Monday, tweeted his condolences to the victims’ families and urged the district’s authorities to oversee the rescue.
Monday has been declared a day of official mourning, PTI reported, quoting a government statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the loss of lives” and announced compensation to the victims’ families in a tweet.
Boating accidents are common in India, where many vessels are overcrowded and have inadequate safety equipment.
In September 2020, 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 region.