Local authorities say two schoolgirls drowned and six were missing Saturday after a boat with an estimated 40 children on board capsised off India’s western coast.
Local administration official Prashant Narnaware said the children from a local school were on an outing on the boat when it capsized about five km into the sea off the coast of Dahanu in Maharashtra state.
Local fishing boats immediately went to the rescue and were soon joined by Coast Guard vessels.
A spokesman for the Coast Guard said 32 children aged between 14 and 17, have been rescued.
Narnaware said the bodies of two girls have been found and a search is on for those missing.
Hundreds of anxious parents and family members gathered on Parnaka Beach near Dahanu’s Ambedkar Nagar as rescued children and the bodies of the two girls were brought back.
Every year, scores of people drown in boat tragedies across India, which are mostly blamed on overcrowding, poor maintenance of vessels and lax safety rules.