The death toll in the incident of boat overturned in Mahananda river bordering West Bengal and Bihar rose to nine today after five more bodies were recovered by rescue teams, police said.
The bodies were fished out from the river at Chanchal area of Malda district in West Bengal this morning, senior police officer of Malda Alok Rajoria said.
Out of the nine deceased, two were residents of Bihar, while seven were from West Bengal, Mr Rajoria said.
Search and rescue operations were being carried out by personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).
The boat that overturned on Thursday could not be traced till Saturday morning, the police officer said.
"The boatman has been absconding since the incident and a case has been registered against him," the police officer said.
Four bodies had been fished out from the river bordering Katihar district in Bihar and Malda district in West Bengal since Thursday.
A total of nine people were admitted to a hospital in Malda district after they were rescued, the District Magistrate (DM) of Malda, Kaushik Bhattacharya had said.
A boat carrying close to 80 people had capsized in the river on Thursday when residents of Wajidpur village in Bihar were returning after shopping in Rampur Haat market of the adjoining state, situated right across the river.
Deputy Superintendent of Police of Bihar's Barsoi, Pankaj Kumar, had said, "Prima facie, it appears to be a case of overloading. The boat had a capacity of 40 passengers but was carrying almost double the number."
"Many of those riding the boat either swam to safety or were rescued by onlookers. About two dozen people are yet to be traced. Professional divers have been deployed for the purpose."