Eight persons lost their life as the boat they were travelling in capsized in Kali river near Karwar on Monday. According to reports, a group of people was returning from a local festival on Kurumgad island when the incident occurred int  he afternoon. As many as seven persons are said to be missing. The first alert regarding the Karwar boat tragedy reached the district administration at 4.45 pm.

The Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy swung into action immediately after they were alerted about the incident and helicopters were also pressed into service. Rescue operations went on till late at night and they, along with local fishermen, managed to bring 18 people to safety.

In a series of tweets, the Navy, the ICG and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman posted updates about the rescue operation. While there was confusion about the figures initially, Sitharaman later clarified that there were 33 people in all on board the ill-fated ferry boat.

Sitharaman posted that the passengers were on their way to Rabindranath Tagore Beach near Karwar from the offshore island of Kurumgad when their boat capsized around 3 pm.

“Upon alert from district administration at 1645 hrs, @indiannavy & @IndiaCoastGuard immediately initiated a search & rescue operation enaging helicopters & fast interceptor crafts,” the minister tweeted.

Diving teams from Karwar Naval Area were deployed too.

“Of the 33 passengers, 18 were immediately rescued – 14 by local fishermen & 4 by @IndiaCoastGuard. 8 bodies have been recovered till now and the search is on for 7 passengers still missing,” she said in another tweet.

In its tweet posted at 9:31 pm on Monday, the Indian Coast Guard said: “@IndiaCoastGuard Ships continue to scour the seas in search #SAR of missing people who were onboard the ill fated boat #SreeRameshwarPrasan which capsized off #Karnataka Coast this afternoon.”

According to reports, the victims had gone to the Kurumgad island to take part in an annual festival organised at the Sree Narasimha Devi Temple there. The festival attracts thousands of devotees every January when the temple is opened for darshan.

There was no update on the rescue operation in the morning till the time of writing. More details are awaited.