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Pti

Sambalpur: At least ten persons drowned and 10 others missing after a boat carrying over 90 persons capsized on the Hirakud reservoir in Sambalpur district, official sources said.

"Ten bodies have so far been fished out and the number of casualty may rise," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra told PTI at Bhubaneswar.

Unofficial sources, however, claimed the rescue teams have recovered 12 bodies from the reservoir of the Mahanadi river.

"We have rescued about 80 people from the water. People said about 100 people were in the boat which capsized on the reservoir," said Amitav Panda, a police officer of Ainthapalli Police Station.

Mohapatra said personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), fire brigade, police and local divers were engaged in rescue operation.

"Rescue operation will continue all night," he said.

The incident took place when around 120 people from the Lion's Club of Sambalpur, Hirakud and Bargarh, who had gone to other side of the reservoir on a picnic, were returning.

"The boat capsized due to over crowding," Panda said.

Quoting a survivor, he said "More than 90 people were on board when the boat developed a snag mid-way. Water also entered in the boat, which led to the capsize."

The rescue team with four country-made boats reached the accident site after hearing scream of the people from another boat.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed grief over the incident and directed the district administration to undertake rescue operation on war footing. He has also announced free of treatment for the survivors.

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