Twenty-five people drowned and an equal number went missing when an overcrowded country boat capsized after being caught in a whirlpool in the swollen Kosi river in Supaul on Wednesday evening.
Local divers fished out 25 bodies, including that of three children, from the river and were trying to trace the missing, District Magistrate Kumar Ravi said.
The boat, ferrying 50 passengers who were going attend a 'shradh' ceremony, was caught in the whirlpool near Hari panchayat area and sank, he said.
The local divers were being hindered by darkness and rain in their search for the missing passengers, he said.
In Patna, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced payment of ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh to the relatives of those killed.
He said that a national Disaster Response Force had rushed to the spot.
Senior officials, including the Superintendent of Police, S Prasad, were camping at the spot to supervise the operations.