Three students have died after a ferry boat carrying mostly teenage school children sank in the Arabian Sea off India’s western coast, police said.
Another 29 children were rescued by officers and navy members after the incident occured off Dahanu, a town in Maharashtra state.
Moshudi Pervez Sheikh, a 17-year-old girl who survived, said the boat tilted and sank as the schoolchildren moved to one side to take selfies using their smartphones.
The students were on a picnic when the private boat ‘Dahanu Queen’ capsized at around 11.30am.
Rescue workers search for survivors and bodies of victims after a ferry boat carrying schoolchildren sank in the Arabian Sea, at a beach in Dahanu, in India
Police and navy officers worked tirelessly to find all the children who had capsized
Three students were killed by the incident and a further 29 schoolchildren (pictured left) were rescued by volunteers (pictured right) and officers
It was carrying 40 pupils of the Ponda School and Junior College in Parnaka in Dahanu.
Three people, including the owner of the boat, were arrested by Palghar police on the evening of January 13, reported the Press Trust of India.
All the students on the boat had been accounted for, said police officer V.J. Sankha.
Surrounding fishermen and residents of Dahanu joined in the rescue efforts after seeing the boat start to tilt.
The bodies of the three girls — Sonal Bhagwan Surati, Janhavi Harish Surati and Sanskruti Mayavanshi — all aged 17, from Masauli, were found.
Family members can be seen in anguish as they mourn near the body of a victim
Relatives and friends react, during the funeral of Sanskruti Mayavanshi, one of the victims of a boat accident
Moshudi Pervez Sheikh, a 17-year-old girl who survived, said the boat tilted and sank as the schoolchildren moved to one side to take selfies using their smartphones
And the funeral for at least one of the teenagers who died, Sanskruti Mayavanshi, has already been held.
Among the rescued, three students and the boat driver were admitted to a local hospital in Dahanu, 80 miles from Mumbai, police said.
President Ram Nath Kovind of India, who arrived in Mumbai today on a two-day visit to Maharashtra, gave his condolences to the families of those killed in the tragedy.
“Anguished to hear of boat carrying school children capsizing in Dahanu, Maharashtra. State government has rescued most of the passengers and is making efforts to trace those still missing. My condolences to bereaved families,” he tweeted earlier.
Mosuda Pravez Shaikh lies in a local hospital in Dahanu, 130 kilometres (80 miles) from Mumbai, India
Survivors receive medical treatment at a nearby hospital once they were retrieved from the sea waters
Police said the owner of the boat, Dhiraj Ambire, boatman Parth Ambire and helper Mahendra Ambire were arrested late this evening.
‘The trio was booked under IPC sections 304 A (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 280 (rash navigation of vessel), 282 (conveying person by water for hire in unsafe or overloaded vessel), 34 (common intention). The case was registered at Dahanu police station,’ Superintendent of Police, Palghar, Manjunath Singe said.
‘The accused did not take safety measures and took excess people on the boat,’ he added.
Accidents like this are said to be common in India, where many ferry boats are poorly built and often overcrowded.
There is also little regard for safety regulations such as providing lifejackets, yet boats are often the main mode of transport in remote areas.