The boat carrying more than 60 people was ferrying passengers to a popular Sufi Muslim shrine on an island off the coast of Sindh Province when it overturned amid heavy winds near the ancient city of Thatta, police officials said. More than 35 of those rescued were injured and at least 20 others are still missing, they said.
At least 50 people belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra Community drowned.
The eye witnesses said that the boat could have carried around 200 people; however, it could not uphold the balance due to strong winds and hurriedness of the people.
Around 80 pilgrims were on their way to a shrine "mela" (fair) when their boat capsized in the open sea, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Thatta Haseeb Afzal said, adding that the boat was overloaded with passengers.
Authorities fear a further rise in the death toll as search and rescue operations involving navy and coastguards are still underway, according to a statement from Pakistan Navy. He added that the boat was carrying passengers traveling to the shrine of Pir Pathai to celebrate a festival.
Hyderabad Division Commissioner Dr Saeed Magnejo said that ongoing local rescue efforts are being supported by coordination between Navy and Army units in the area.
Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Muhammad Ali Shah said that one boat capsized at the Bohara jetty when the boat tilted over as passengers rushed to exit it.
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