MALAPPURAM — At least 22 people died after a tourist boat carrying around 40 passengers capsized near Tanur in southern India Sunday evening, police and local media reported.
The death toll is likely to go up as several passengers are missing. Many of the victims were women and children from families in neighboring places.
The accident took place in the Poorapuzha estuary in the Tanur area of Kerala’s Malappuram district.
According to the district authorities, the death toll stood at 22, but seven people remained in critical condition.
More people are believed to be trapped under the boat. The efforts are on to bring the capsized boat to the shore.
The rescue operations, with the help of fire services personnel and local volunteers, were continuing.
According to the police, the incident occurred around 7 pm. The exact cause of the accident was not known at present.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also issued a statement condoling the deaths and directed the Malappuram District Collector to carry out a coordinated emergency rescue operation. The chief minister has canceled all official programs and will travel to Tanur on Monday morning.
Kerala Sports Minister V Abdurahiman, who is coordinating the rescue operations along with Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas, told PTI that most of the dead were women and children from neighboring areas who had come for a boat ride amid ongoing school vacations.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an emergency relief of Rs200,000 (about $2500) from the national relief fund for the families of the victims.
“Pained by the loss of lives due to the boat mishap in Malappuram, Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families. An ex gratia of Rs2 lakh from PMNRF would be provided to the next of kin of each deceased,” Modi said in a tweet. — Agencies