THATTA: At least 21 people have been reported dead as a boat carrying more than 50 pilgrims capsized near the coastal village of Bohara situated close to Thatta on Thursday, rescue sources said.

Of the bodies recovered so far, five are women, six men, and three children, rescue sources said, adding that 17 passengers have been rescued and shifted to nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Thatta Nasir Baig said the boat was carrying 60-70 passengers. At least 21 bodies have been recovered, according to officials at Mirpur Sakro Taluqa Hospital.

Commissioner Hyderabad Division Dr Saeed Magnejo said that local rescue efforts were being supported by military units in the area.

The passengers reportedly belonged to Dawoodi Bohra community and were seeking to attend the annual urs celebration of sufi saint Meenhan Pathai.

Magnejo said that most of the passengers are residents of Karachi.

Thatta DC said apparently the accident took place as an overloaded boat lost balance and tipped over in a creek 30 kilometres away from Bohara.

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Chairman Muhammad Ali Shah said that one boat capsized at the Bohara jetty when it tilted over as passengers rushed to exit it.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Hyderabad Jawed Alam Odho said one boat had capsized, without offering further details, whereas an area official claimed two boats had collided together in the creek.

Local fishermen and boatmen pulled out the dead and rescued the other people before the official rescue operation could be launched. Search for the missing was continues till the filing of this report.

Published in Daily Times, December 8th 2017.

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