NEW DELHI – A boat capsized in a rain-swollen river near the Indian capital Sunday, leaving at least six people dead and 16 others missing, as monsoon rains triggered fresh floods across western India and forced thousands to evacuate.
The boat was carrying 30 people when it sank in the Yamuna River, about 30 miles southeast of New Delhi, according to a police officer who did not want to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.
Rescuers recovered six bodies and were searching for others, the officer said. At least eight people swam to shore.
The monsoon season, which started in June and can run to September, is eagerly awaited each year in India, where some 600 million people depend on agriculture for a living. However, it also brings widespread destruction.
Reports from local officials in various parts of the country have put the death toll at 382 since June. An accurate national death toll is not kept, however, and the figure is likely much higher.
Most of the victims drowned in floods, were crushed when poorly built houses collapsed, or were electrocuted when raging waters exposed live wires.
On Sunday, it rained heavily across western India, disrupting the region's road transport network and forcing authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of residents in flood-hit areas.
Some 13,000 people were evacuated in Nanded district, where floods inundated about 25 villages, New Delhi Television station reported. Authorities also advised villagers in Vidarbha region to move to higher ground, the report said.
A bus carrying about 35 tourists was stranded on a flooded road in Buldhana district, local administrator Nikhil Gupta told New Delhi TV. The tourists were to be airlifted to safety by helicopter.
In southern Andhra Pradesh state, where heavy rain has wreaked havoc for days, Chief Minister Y. Rajasekhara Reddy said more than 130,000 people were still living in relief camps after being evacuated from their homes over the past week.
Although rains in the state eased Sunday, at least two major rivers remained swollen. A key airport in the state remained shut for a fourth day after water from an overflowing river submerged its runway, the CNN-IBN television station reported.
Incessant rains also have flooded many parts of Bombay, India's financial capital, leaving train tracks and roads submerged by waist-deep water.