Boat capsizes in Indian river, killing 19; about 31 missing

Villagers protest with dead bodies of victims of a boat capsize as they block traffic on the Delhi-Saharanpur highway at Katha village near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Sept.14, 2017. A boat crowded with construction workers capsized in the Yamuna River early Thursday and nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the river so far. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Villagers gather at the spot of a boat capsize as rescuers search in the Yamuna River near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Sept.14, 2017. A boat crowded with construction workers capsized in the Yamuna River early Thursday and nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the river so far. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A vehicle damaged by villagers protesting after a boat capsize lies on the Delhi-Saharanpur highway at Katha village near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Sept.14, 2017. A boat crowded with construction workers capsized in the Yamuna River early Thursday and nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the river so far. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Villagers gather at the spot of a boat capsize as rescuers search in the Yamuna River near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Sept.14, 2017. A boat crowded with construction workers capsized in the Yamuna River early Thursday and nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the river so far. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Rescuers search in the Yamuna River as villagers gather after a country boat, seen in foreground, capsized near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state, India, Thursday, Sept.14, 2017. The boat crowded with construction workers capsized early Thursday and nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the river so far. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

LUCKNOW, India — A boat crowded with construction workers capsized in the Yamuna River in northern India early Thursday and at least 19 people have drowned, officials said.

A search is underway for missing passengers, said senior police officer Ram Kumar.

More than 60 people were on the boat when it capsized near Baghpat town in Uttar Pradesh state early Thursday.

At least 10 people swam to safety while about 31 passengers are missing. Nineteen bodies had been pulled out of the river, Kumar said.

Authorities were investigating, though they believe overcrowding was a likely cause. The boat had capacity for only 35 passengers, said district magistrate Bhawani Singh.

The workers crossed the river every day to their place of work in Baghpat, Singh said.

Later, villagers protested the delay in the local administration's response to the accident. They placed the bodies on a main highway leading to the Indian capital, New Delhi, and blocked traffic for some hours.

Accidents are common in India as many ferries are poorly built and often overcrowded, and there is little regard for safety regulations.

Heavy monsoon rains have flooded rivers in parts of India, where boats are often the main mode of transport in remote areas.

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