The bodies of 18 persons, including those of four children, have so far been fished out from Bhagirathi river in which an overcrowded boat bank on Saturday night.
Nadia district magistrate Vijay Bharti told PTI that 17 bodies have been identified.
“The 17 bodies identified are those of people from Shantipur while one is likely to be from Burdwan…. We are still trying to identify it,” Bharti said.
The boat was ferrying around 55 people, much above its capacity, and overturned in the river on Saturday night when it was on its way back to Shantipur in Nadia district carrying passengers from a fair at Kalna in Burdwan district on the opposite bank.
The accident had sparked violent protest in Nadia district on Sunday during which several boats were torched and police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to quell the mob.
Burdwan district magistrate Saumitra Mohan said the bodies were found within 1 km to 1.5 km radius of the spot where the boat had capsized on Saturday night.
The search operation was still on, Burdwan SP Gaurab Sharma said. “We are still not sure if there are some more bodies in the river or not … Search operation will go on and we are also trying to pull out the boat.”
Families of the deceased in the mishap would get a compensation of Rs two lakh each, Bharti said.
On the alleged delay in rescue operations, Mohan had said the river current, depth of the river and the muddy water had made the job of the divers “very difficult”.
The Burdwan DM had said “overloading” was one of the suspected causes which led to the incident.
Image: National Disaster Response Force carries out a rescue operation in Burdwan, after a boat capsized overnight. Photograph: PTI