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Kerala: 22 Dead After Tourist Houseboat Capsizes In Malappuram, Rescue Operations Underway

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each victim

Kerala houseboat overturns
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Twenty two people, including women and children, were killed in Kerala's Malappuram district on Sunday, when a houseboat with more than 30 passengers on board capsized and sank near the Thoovaltheeram beach in the Tanur area, the state government said. The rescue operation is still underway as of today morning.

Monday has been declared a day of official mourning and all government programmes stand postponed as a mark of respect to the victims.

A senior district official told PTI that all the 22 people whose bodies have been recovered have been identified. "We have requested the help of all agencies. NDRF and Coast Guard teams have already reached the spot. We have also sought the Navy's help," the official said.

More people are believed to be trapped under boat this morning and rescue operations are underway.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each victim. "Pained by the loss of lives due to the boat mishap in Malappuram, Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families. An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from PMNRF (Prime Minister's National Relief Fund) would be provided to the next of kin of each deceased," Modi was quoted as saying in a tweet by the Prime Minister's Office.

Earlier, PK Kunhalikutty, an MLA of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), said the toll is expected to go up as rescue operations continue.  "It is a very tragic and unfortunate incident," the former minister said.

Speaking to reporters from a government hospital near Tanur, he said overcrowding is believed to have been the reason behind the vessel capsizing. Boats are not supposed to go out for rides after 6 pm but it is believed that the rule was violated in this case, he added. 

The incident occurred around 7 pm near an estuary close to the Thoovaltheeram beach in Tanur, the police said. Those rescued were admitted to nearby private and government hospitals. The exact cause of the accident is not known at present, they added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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