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3 dead as boat capsizes in Punjab

July 12, 2005 12:37 IST

Three farmers, including two women were killed and 10 more feared drowned when their boat capsized, just 10 metres off the shore near Kamalwala village along the Indo-Pakistan border, official sources said on Tuesday.

The boat, carrying 25 farmers from Kamalwala and some nearby border villages, was returning on Monday evening when it suddenly started wobbling due to strong current in Sutlej River triggering panic among them. Those who knew swimming jumped out and swam to safety while the rest are feared drowned.

Deputy Commissioner B C Thakur, who supervised the rescue operations, said 12 persons were saved. The search is still on to trace the missing persons, he said.

The farmers travel daily to village Mutianwala situated on the other side of Sutlej in Khemkaran area of District Amritsar, for farming and allied jobs.

Thakur said that Army and Border Security Force motorboats have been pressed into service and expert divers from Home Guards, Irrigation and BSF are trying to locate the rest.

The incident took place at around 1900 IST on Monday evening, and at that time the water level was 6000 cusecs downstream.

The flow of water has been brought down from the Harike headwork and the gates at Hussaniwala headwork have been closed so that no body may drift onto the Pakistani side, he said.

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