At least 13 persons drowned while four others went missing after their dinghy capsized in a stream in Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh today, the police said.
A police official said all the victims were closely related and many of them belonged to one family.
At least six of the victims were said to be children and over five women, the official said.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the incident and directed Anantapuramu district collector and the Superintendent of Police to immediately carry out rescue and relief operations.
More than ten bodies were fished out from the stream and were being shifted to the government hospital in Guntakal for post-mortem, Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas said.
According to the police, overcrowding was suspected to be the cause of the tragedy.
The incident occurred at Yerra Timmaraju Vagu near Guntakal when over 17 persons took the dinghy for a joy ride in the stream after attending a function in the village, police said.
The local fishermen, who normally operate the dinghies for fishing, were kept away as the relatives wanted to go in a group, according to the police.
Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa expressed shock over the incident and asked the district SP to make quick arrangements for post-mortem and handing over of bodies to the victims’ kin.