The boat was carrying 50 people, more than its capacity of 30, and it capsized not far from the shore of the Indian city of Patna.

Relatives look at the images of people who drowned in a boat accident on the river Ganges near Patna in eastern India, on January 15, 2017.
Relatives look at the images of people who drowned in a boat accident on the river Ganges near Patna in eastern India, on January 15, 2017.

At least 26 people have drowned after a boat capsized in the Ganges river in India's eastern state of Bihar on Saturday, a government official said.

The incident took place in the evening, when people were ferrying back after watching kite-flying celebrations to mark a harvest festival.

Rescue workers were working round the clock looking for survivors, Anirudh Kumar, joint secretary of the state disaster management authority said.

"Workers pulled out 22 bodies in the night and this (Sunday) morning four more bodies were recovered," he said.

The boat was carrying 50 people, more than its capacity of 30, and it capsized not far from the shore in the state capital Patna, State Disaster Management Minister Chandrashekhar said.

The revellers were on their way back from the annual Hindu harvest festival of Makar Sakranti, marked by kite-flying and other festivities.

State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the accident and announced compensation of 400,000 rupees ($5,900) for the families of the victims.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended condolences to the victims' families while cancelling an event he was scheduled to attend in Patna on Sunday.

Boat accidents are common in the country, mainly because of overcrowding, poor maintenance and lax regulations.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies