25 feared drowned in boat disaster in south Bihar

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Seikhpura, Sep 11 (UNI) At least 25 people, including several women and children, were feared drowned when a countrymade boat capsized midstream in the Harohar river near Baoghat in this south Bihar district this morning.

Police said the overloaded boat, carrying about 40 passengers, including 12 children and six women, overturned as it reached midstream.

While 15 passengers swam to safety, about 25 others went missing and were feared drowned in the river, though none of the bodies could be recovered so far.

The ill-fated boat was carrying pilgrims who hired it to immerse idols after the Karma festival.

District Magistrate Anjani Kumar said a number of divers had been pressed into service to trace the victims.

However, the rescue operation was being hampered because of the remoteness of the area, he added.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed shock at the mishap and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased, in addition to Rs 50,000 each from the Chief Minister's relief fund.

UNI XC-RS-ABA DPM RD 1252

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