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22 drown after fishing boat capsizes

Authorities blame high winds, overcrowding for the incident on Pulicat lake near Chennai

Leo Fernando, Chennai

Leo Fernando, Chennai

Updated: December 26, 2011 07:42 AM GMT
22 drown after fishing boat capsizes

Twenty-two members of a Christian family drowned yesterday when the boat they were traveling in capsized on Pulicat lake in Tamil Nadu state. Sundara Pandian, a hotelier, was enjoying Christmas on the lake with his family following the baptism of his youngest grandson when the boat, carrying 26 people, overturned, authorities said. Only three family members and the boat’s captain survived. Divers and rescue workers toiled through the night but were unable to find any other survivors or recover any of the bodies of the deceased, according to a BBC News report. Officials told reporters that the fishing boat the family had been traveling in could only safely accommodate about 10 people, and that high winds and overcrowding had caused the boat to capsize. They added that it was not uncommon for local fishermen to take tourists out on the lake, a popular attraction for travelers. The family belonged to the Protestant Church of South India. A similar accident occurred in 1994, when a Pentecostal group of 34 people drowned in Pulicat lake when their boat sank.

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