At least six persons were killed and many others missing when a motorised boat, carrying nearly 50 passengers, capsized in Muriganga river on way to Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on Wednesday.
West Bengal Sunderbans Development Minister Kanti Ganguly said 200 pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh were returning to Kakdwip on four motorised boats after offering pujas at Kapil Muni temple at Sagar Islands on the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and Hooghly river when one of the vessels sank.
"The district magistrate of South 24-Parganas has informed me that at least six persons have drowned and many are missing, although their exact number could not be verified," Ganguly said.
The minister said all-out efforts were being made to rescue the missing, but it was proving very difficult to undertake rescue operation due to strong currents in the river and the gathering darkness.
Three bodies have been fished out and taken to Kakdwip hospital, police said, adding most of the pilgrims swam ashore or were rescued by locals at the bank known as 'Lot Number Eight'.