Eleven boys drowned in Karnataka on Wednesday when a coracle in which they were sailing overturned and capsized in a river during the immersion of Lord Ganesha’s idol, police said.
“The incident occurred around 3pm near Hardanahalli village when 18 people, including 16 youth went into Tungabhadra river in a coracle to immerse a huge Ganesha idol. As the overloaded coracle tilted and overturned, 11 of them plunged and drowned while seven swam to the shore,” Shivamogga police superintendent Abhinav Khare told IANS.
The village is 18km from Shivamogga, which is in Malnad region and about 300km from Bengaluru.
“Though we launched a rescue and relief operation with the help of locals, none of the victims survived and seven bodies were recovered till darkness set in,” said Khare.
The police will resume the rescue operation on Thursday morning to fish out the remaining four bodies though the river is in full flow with strong under currents.
The district authority has banned swimming, sailing and immersion of Ganesha idols in the river to prevent any mishap.
Ganesha Chaturthi, which began on Monday, is a 10-day long festival across the state when the god of removal of obstacles is worshipped and his idol is immersed in the river, lake or pond on any evening during the festival period.