India boat accident kills at least 24
Boat carrying people returning from an annual Hindu festival capsizes on Ganges River
The death toll in a Saturday evening boat accident on the Ganges River in India's Bihar state has reached 24, police officials said, with rescue operations still ongoing.
The local administration on Saturday evening launched search operations to rescue the survivors, after a boat near the northeastern city of Patna with at least 40 people on board capsized in the river, which Hindus consider sacred.
Local officials said that people on board were on their way back from an annual Hindu festival as well as a kite-flying festival in the riverine area.
“We have recovered 24 bodies up until this afternoon,” Patna's Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaj told Anadolu Agency on the phone, adding that rescuers are still searching.
Healthcare officials in Patna said that dozens of people have been taken to hospitals for treatment.
The state government on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the incident, and also compensation of 400,000 rupees ($5,800) to each victim was announced.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “grief” at the loss of lives and also approved relief of 200,000 rupees ($2,900) for the next of kin of the deceased, and 50,000 ($730) for those seriously injured.
This is not for the first time such an incident has taken place in India. In the past, boat accidents have been reported in the country, normally caused by a lack of safety equipment on board and also overcrowding.