At least 20 people died on Thursday when a boat packed with labourers capsized on the Yamuna river in northern India, an official said.

Twenty bodies have been recovered, Dharam Pal Singh, additional magistrate of Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh state, told AFP. “It appears the boat was crowded beyond its capacity,” he said.

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“The incident happened early morning. It was a privately hired boat and was carrying some 50-55 people,” said Singh.

Angry residents protested on the streets in Baghpat, accusing the administration of not providing help to the victims quickly enough.

“They used dead bodies to block roads. Police are on the spot and a probe has been ordered,” Prashant Kumar, a senior police official told AFP.

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The Press Trust of India news agency said the boat capsized mid-stream and most of the victims were women.

Boat accidents are common in India, mainly because of overcrowding, poor maintenance and lax safety on ferries.

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Nineteen people died in January when a boat carrying revellers from a kite festival capsized on the Ganges river in eastern India.

The Uttar Pradesh government, run by India’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, announced compensation of 200,000 rupees ($3,100) for each victim’s family in the latest disaster.