An overcrowded boat capsized late Saturday night near Kalna Ghat in Burdwan while on way to Shantipur in Nadia district.
“Till now 18 bodies have been recovered,” Burdwan district magistrate Saumitra Mohan said.
Nadia district magistrate Vijay Bharti on Sunday said at least 12 people were reported missing.
Led by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), search operations are continuing since Sunday.
Incensed by the “delay” in launching the rescue and search operations, locals on Sunday set fire to several boats in Shantipur’s Nrisinghapur Ghat jetty and pelted stones at police men, injuring some of them.
Police had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the irate mobs.
The administration has denied any delay in the rescue and search operation.
The boat ferrying at least 55 people, much above its capacity, overturned in the river on Saturday night as the people were on their way back to Shantipur on the opposite bank from a fair at Kalna in Burdwan district.
On the alleged delay in rescue operations, Mohan had said the river current, depth of the river and the muddy water
had made the job of the divers “very difficult”.
The Burdwan DM had said “overloading” was one of the suspected causes which led to the incident.