Naval ships and divers have joined the search operations to locate the bodies of victims in the boat tragedy at a lake near Chennai which claimed 22 lives, officials said on Monday.
Twenty-two persons drowned on Sunday when the private boat in which they went on a pleasure trip as part of Christmas celebration capsized in Pulicat Lake, about 60 km from Chennai.
Three boys, who were part of the 25-member group that boarded the craft, survived the mishap which occurred when the boat entered an area close to the sea mouth, where boating is banned.
The boatman, a fisherman, also escaped. Police said five more bodies were recovered today, taking the total to 18 and search operations by fire and rescue personnel and local fishermen in coordination with Navy were underway to locate the remaining.
Navy said despite adverse weather conditions in the area, the search operations were in progress in coordination with the civil administration.
"Indian Naval Ships "Cheriyam" and FACT-84 with divers embarked have been employed to locate survivors and the search and rescue operations are on under the supervision of Commodore Amar K Mahadevan, Naval Officer-in-Charge (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry..." an official release said.