June 3, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Rescue workers search for victims of a tourist boat capsizing in India; 22 dead

(Reuters) – Rescue workers searched on Monday for survivors of an overcrowded tourist boat that capsized on a waterway in southern India, killing at least 22, authorities said.

Police said the exact number of people on board the boat, which capsized on Sunday night in an estuary near Tanur town in Kerala state, has not yet been confirmed. Police said they are looking for the owner of the boat, who fled.

A man named Shafiq, who was on board the converted fishing boat, told Manorama news channel that the vessel listed badly shortly after setting off.

“Most of the people upstairs jumped into the river and swam to safety,” the man said.

According to preliminary estimates, there were about 40 people, most of whom are believed to be local tourists, on board, including several children, Tanur Police Officer Jeevan George said.

“We do not have clear information about the total number of people on board as the passengers included several children who did not need tickets,” George said.

Known for its picturesque backwaters, Kerala is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists.

The state government and police said they have opened investigations into the incident.

Residents of the area said the cruise service only started last month and lacked safety measures. One man said he and his brother decided not to go on the trip because the boat seemed too crowded.

“The workers are asking more people to join, saying it’s the last flight of the day,” the man, identified as Ibrahim, told Manorama News.

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(Reporting by Jyoti Narayan and Jose Devasia) Editing by Sandra Mahler

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