At least 11 people, most of them children, died when a houseboat with around 30 passengers aboard it overturned and sank near Tuvalthiram beach at Tanur area of Malappuram district in Kerala on Sunday evening.

Kerala Sports Minister V Abdurahiman, who is coordinating the rescue operations along with Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, said over 11 people died in the accident and most of them were children who had come for a ride amid ongoing school vacations.

"More victims are believed to be trapped under the boat and have to be brought out. The boat had overturned. The reason for it is not yet known. Police will be investigating it," he told PTI.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a statement condoling the deaths and directed the Malappuram District Collector to carry out a coordinated emergency rescue operation.

Fire and police units, officials from revenue and health departments and locals from Tanur and Tirur areas of the district were involved in the rescue operation, the statement said. It also said ministers Abdurahiman and Riyas would be coordinating the rescue operations.

According to the police, the incident occurred around 7 PM.

Those fished out of the water were admitted to nearby private and government hospitals, it said. The exact cause of the accident was not known at present, police said.