An overcrowded boat, ferrying 40 passengers capsized in Ganga near Shooltankeshwar, around 20 km from the Varanasi on Tuesday.
One body was recovered and 17 are still missing after the tragedy while 22 people managed to swim to safety.
Pranjal Yadav, district magistrate and Jogender Kumar, SSP, rushed to the spot as massive rescue operations were underway till late in the night. Strong water currents proved to be a major obstacle in the operations.
According to reports, the ferry was heading from Bitawar village in Varanasi to Dhanpur in Mirzapur district.
As it reached the middle of the river, the engine broke down, capsizing the boat.
Often boatmen ferry passengers in excess of the boat’s capacity leading to such tragedies.
Five people had drowned in a similar incident in Adalpura, Varanasi, earlier in February.