Kerala: At least 22 dead after boat capsizes in southern India

Rescue teams worked throughout Sunday night to find anyone still missing from the capsized boat

At least 22 people have died after a double-decker boat packed full of tourists capsized off a beach in southern India.

Authorities in the country's Kerala state said they expect the death toll to rise, while rescue teams continue searching for those still listed as missing.

The boat capsized near the estuary of Poorappuzha River in Tanur, a coastal town in Kerala state's Malappuram district, on Sunday night. Most of the passengers onboard were tourists.

Police said they were investigating what caused the boat to sink and were working on the theory that it was due to overcrowding.

Rescuers dragged the boat ashore after it capsized. Credit: AP

Children, who were travelling on the boat during their school holidays, were announced as among the dead, Sports Minister V. Abdurahiman told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Indian 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. Thirty people also died in May 2018 when a boat capsized in the same region.

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