ISLAMABAD (AP) – Severe flooding sank a boat carrying a wedding party in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Sunday, killing the bridegroom and 17 others, officials said.
Senior police officer Mian Tanvir from the nearby city of Multan said the army-run boat carrying over 30 people capsized when it hit debris from a dike that had been blown up earlier in the day to divert waters away from urban areas.
“Divers are searching for the remainders,” he said, adding that 18 passengers had been rescued. The army later said in a statement that an officer had drowned while helping in rescue efforts.
Local television showed footage of emergency workers and the wailing father of the bridegroom. The bride was among the rescued.
“There were many people in the boat and water started seeping in and eventually it overturned,” she told a reporter from a local television channel, which did not give her name. “I don’t know who survived and who we lost.”
Separately, three people drowned in the area overnight, senior provincial rescue official Ali Imam Syed said. The deaths, combined with those from the boat tragedy, brought the overall death toll from flooding in Pakistan to 301, he added.
Ahmed Kamal, spokesman for Pakistan’s disaster management agency, said the heavy rains and flooding had also injured more than 500 people in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. He said more than two million people had been affected.