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At least twenty-three people, most of them children, died when a boat carrying about 50 students and staff of a school capsized in southern India on Tuesday, official said. 

According to reports, the death toll is likely to go up because the mishap occurred in a remote stretch of the Periyar river in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, making rescue efforts extremely difficult. 

Ernakulam’s District Collector A P M Mohammad Haneesh told media that 23 bodies had been recovered and a search was on for 20 more occupants of the boat who were swept away. The dead children were below 10 years of age. 

Eight children were rescued, Haneesh said. 

At least three teachers were believed to be among the dead, the reports added. 

The mishap occurred when one of three boats carrying the students and teachers of St Antony’s School at Elavoor near Angamaly capsized. There were more than 100 students and teachers in the three boats that had left for a picnic and boat ride after 7pm (local time). 

More than 100 students from a district school had gone on the picnic and 40 of them went for a ride on the boat which capsized, RD Chandrashekar, a state police officer, told Reuters by phone from Ernakulam 

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