Woman, 5 children dead after boat capsizes in Indian Kashmir

Tragedy strikes in Kashmir as a boat capsizes, claiming the lives of a woman and five children.

A woman and five children were killed after a boat ferrying them across a swollen river capsized in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, officials said.

Rescuers in rubber boats joined by marine commandos and divers were searching for three others believed to have been aboard.

Residents said the remaining missing were schoolchildren on their way to class when the boat overturned in the Jhelum river in the city of Srinagar.

“Six died in the accident, another six were rescued and three are still missing,” Srinagar district magistrate Bilal Mohi-ud-Din Bhat told AFP.

“Our information so far is that 15 people were on the boat,” he said.

Three of those rescued were being treated at a hospital and the other three were sent home, Bhat said.

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Residents had initially reported to local disaster management field personnel that 26 people were on the boat.

“It turned out that probably not all of them had boarded,” a top official in Kashmir told AFP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media.

Grief-stricken relatives gathered at the banks of the river as news of the accident spread.

Huge crowds joined funeral prayers in Srinagar to mourn the deaths, among them a woman and her two sons along with three other children.

All of the children aboard were aged between 10 and 16, residents told AFP.

The river was swollen after days of rain across the Himalayan Kashmir valley.

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The small vessel had no motor but its crew propelled it between the riverbanks by pulling a rope fixed at both ends.

Witnesses said the rope snapped with the force of the fast-flowing water, sending the boat crashing against a pillar of a partially built footbridge nearby.

Kashmir’s top political official Manoj Sinha said in a post on social media platform X that “all possible help” was being provided to relatives of those who died.

Many office workers and schoolchildren take a boat across the river in the morning to avoid road traffic.

Accidents are common on the treacherous roads of the mountainous region but passenger boat disasters are rare.

– By: © Agence France-Presse

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