More than 22 people, including children, were killed when a double-decker boat carrying more than 30 people capsized on a beach late Sunday in southern India, according to authorities.

Police officer Abdul Nazar said rescue teams hoped to recover more bodies from inside the boat after pulling it ashore from the murky waters. He said the Indian National Disaster Response Force and Indian Coast Guard personnel were involved in the rescue work and trying to find those who were still missing.

The tourist boat capsized near the Poorappuzha River estuary in Tanur, a coastal town in the Malappuram district of Kerala state, with most of the passengers being tourists. Nazar said authorities were investigating the cause of the accident and it appeared the boat capsized due to overcrowding.

Among the dead were children who had gone for a boat ride during their school holidays, Sports Minister V. Abdurahiman told the Press Trust of India news agency, adding that four people in critical condition were admitted. in a hospital.

Rescue attempts when a tourist boat capsized in the Indian state of Kerala on Sunday night. AFP Getty Images

The state premier, who will visit the area on Monday, tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and urged the district authorities to supervise the rescue.

Monday has been declared a day of official mourning, reported the PTI, citing a government statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was «saddened by the loss of life» and announced compensation to the families of the victims in a tweet.

Boating accidents are common in India, where many boats are overcrowded and have inadequate safety equipment.

In September 2020, 12 people drowned when a tourist boat capsized in the swollen Godavari River in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. In May 2018, 30 people died when a boat capsized in the same region.