1st LD Writethru: 14 die as boat capsizes in southern India

Initial reports say that the death toll has already reached 26 and nine bodies have been recovered

"Some 14 bodies have been fished out of the waters", he said.

As many as 41 people, including the boat driver, were in the boat at the time of the incident. They said that the passengers were stuck beneath the boat and despite having the life jackets they were struggling to come out.

The incident comes days after at least 9 people were killed in similar incidents in Vaishali and Samastipur districts of Bihar.

"We received information five minutes after the incident occurred and local fishermen and boatmen had already rescued a few people".

According to Vijayawada police, the motor boat with a three-man crew was ferrying 38 passengers from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangamam near Ibrahimpatnam on the outskirts of Vijayawada for a religious ceremony on Karthika Masam.

A total of 38 passengers and three crew members were on-board the vessel, which was operated by a private company and traveling along the Krishna river near Vijayawada on Sunday.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and Krishna district authorities have launched a massive search and rescue operation to trace the missing people. Most of the victims are believed to be from Ongole and Nellore.

One of the deceased was identified as Prabhakar Reddy, a former president of the BJP Prakasam district unit.

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