At least 11 people, mostly children and women, drowned and over 25 people were missing after an overcrowded boat capsized in the Sone river in Bihar's Bhojpur district early Monday, police said.
The ferry, which could seat only 14 but was carrying over 40 people, capsized near Bhojpur district's Khair village, about 70 km from here.
Nearly half a dozen people managed to swim to safety. Some were rescued by local villagers, Bhojpur Superintendent of Police SR Nayak said.
Nayak said that the death toll may rise even as the National Disaster Relief Team (NDRF) divers were deployed for rescue and search operations, Naik said.
A district administration official said eleven bodies had been recovered, and that the search operation would continue. "Still, more than two dozen people are missing," the official said.
The boat was ferrying people who were returning from a village fair in neighbouring Arwal district.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of those dead in the incident comprising Rs 1.5 lakh each from the disaster relief fund and Rs 50,000 each from the Chief Minister's Relief fund.