LAHORE: An overcrowded boat carrying devotees capsized in a creek in Pakistan's Sindh province today, killing at least 21 people including women and children, authorities said.
The boat carrying members of the Dawoodi Bohra community capsized near to Thatta city.
Deputy Commissioner Thatta Nasir Baig the accident took place as the overloaded boat lost balance and tipped over in a creek, 30 kilometres away from Bohara. He added that the boat was carrying passengers travelling to the shrine of Pir Pathai to celebrate a festival.
He said the boat was carrying 60-70 passengers.
At least 21 bodies have been recovered, Dawn newspaper quoted officials at the Mirpur Sakro Taluqa Hospital as saying.
Officials said the dead included women and children.
About 15-20 people were rescued and admitted to the hospital in an unconscious state, Baig said.
Commissioner Hyderabad Division Saeed Magnejo said that the ongoing local rescue efforts are being supported by coordination between Navy and Army units in the area.
According to local rescue officials, the passengers were devotees seeking to attend the annual urs celebration of the sufi saint. They are believed to be members of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Muhammad Ali Shah said that one boat capsized at the Bohara jetty when the boat tilted over as passengers rushed to exit it. He said there were nearly 100 passengers on board at the time.
Shah said he had received reports of at least 40 bodies being recovered. These reports, however, have not been independently verified, the paper said.