Three people were killed and at least 11 others were missing after a motorised country boat, carrying about 40 passengers, capsized in the Brahmaputra river near Guwahati on Wednesday, according to official sources.
The accident took place around 2 pm near the bank of the Ashwaklanta Temple in Guwahati after the engine of the boat, which was on its way to north Guwahati in Kamrup district across the river from Fancy Bazar ferry ghat, developed a snag and crashed with a concrete pillar.
Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kamal Kumar Baishya, who was supervising the rescue operations at the site, said that 10 people had been rescued, while 12 people swam to safety, and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) and NDRF personnel had so far fished out two bodies, including a girl student of Cotton State University.
One girl student of the university died on way to the hospital after being rescued, while four others of the institute who were also in the boat are missing, the deputy commissioner said.
Only 22 passengers had valid tickets and the boat was carrying 18 motorcycles illegally on it, Baishya added.
Officials said that the rescue operations had been suspended for the night due to low visibility and would resume by Thursday morning.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has instituted a high-level inquiry into the mishap, which would be headed by Additional Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah.
The district administration has opened helplines with numbers--0361-2733052 and 0361-2684407- for information regarding the capsize.
The officials added that the Inland Water Transport had temporarily suspended plying of country boats on the Brahmaputra.
(With inputs from agencies)