At least six persons drowned while more than 20 others went missing after a boat carrying close to 80 people capsized in the Mahananda river in Katihar district, police said on Friday. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Barsoi, Pankaj Kumar said the incident took place on the Bihar-Bengal border at about 8.15 pm on Thursday night close to Jagannathpur Ghat when residents of Wajidpur village here were returning after shopping in Rampur Haat market of the adjoining state, situated right across the river.
"Prima facie, it appears to be a case of overloading. The boat had a capacity of 40 passengers but was carrying almost double the number. So far three unidentified bodies of an elderly man, a woman and a child have been recovered”, the DSP said.
“Many of those riding the boat either swam to safety or were rescued by onlookers. About two dozen people are yet to be traced ... professional divers have been deployed for the purpose,” he added.
Incessant rains have brought normal life to standstill killing more than 40 people in the last nine days in Bihar. Heavy rains have thrown normal life out of gear affecting rail traffic, healthcare facilities and schools in the state. Streets of capital Patna are flooded with water and National Disaster Response Force have been deployed to conduct rescue operations in the city. However, relief and rescue operations are in full swing in Bihar, and waters are being pumped out on a war footing.
According to the state disaster management department, a total of 14 districts have been hit by flood-like situation caused by torrential rainfall in the past few days, most of these situated along the Ganga.