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Boat carrying pilgrims capsizes in India, 18 dead

INDIAN fishermen and navy were searching yesterday for dozens missing after a boat crowded with Muslim pilgrims capsized in the Bay of Bengal, killing at least 18, police said.

More than 100 people were packed onto the 60-capacity motorized boat when it was toppled by a wave from a passing ship Saturday afternoon in the mouth of the Hooghly River, West BengalˇŻs deputy police director Surajit Kar Purkayastha said.

 

Local boatmen rescued 40 people and recovered 18 bodies, including three young girls, before rescue efforts were called off due to darkness. Thirty of the survivors were hospitalized, Purkayastha said.

 

Fishermen and the Indian navy resumed the search yesterday.

 

The pilgrims had been returning to Kakdwip town aboard the boat ˇ°Ma Durgaˇ± after offering prayers at the Hijli shrine in East Midnapur. The accident occurred near Ghoramara island, about 200 kilometers south of the state capital, Calcutta.

 

This is the second major boat tragedy in little more than two months in the Bay of Bengal.

In August, about 20 people died when an overcrowded village transport boat capsized in a small river in the Sunderbans wildlife reserve.

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Posté ŕ: 10:21, 1/11/2010