At least eight domestic tourists drowned and 17 others were rescued after a boat carrying them capsized on Sunday in southern India, local media reported.
The accident occurred near the port city of Tuticorin, around 530 kilometres (330 miles) from Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state.
“I do not know how many tourists were travelling in the boat. Eight people have drowned and 17 others have been rescued and hospitalised,” Tuticorin district collector M. Ravi Kumar told the Press Trust of India.
Police have detained a boat operator for questioning, while the local administration has ordered a probe amid fears that the death toll could increase.
Police said the tourists apparently paid a boat operator around $2 for a joyride on Sunday evening. The vessel later capsized in rough seas.
“Boating in the sea for joyrides is strictly prohibited in these areas,” district police superintendant Ashwin M. Kotnish, who visited the accident site, told AFP.
Boat accidents are common in India, mainly because of overcrowding, poor maintenance, lax regulations and the lack of life jackets and other safety equipment.
Around 26 people died last month when an overcrowded wooden boat capsized in the Ganges river in eastern Bihar state.
More than 100 people lost their lives in 2012 in Assam when a boat sank in the Brahmaputra river during a storm.
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