Bengaluru: Indian Navy on Monday said of the 26 people reported aboard a ferry that capsized in Karwar, Karnataka, it had rescued 17 people and recovered eight bodies while the search was on for one person still missing.

The search operation was launched off the Karwar bridge in Kali River. A Navy Chetak helicopter had flown in from Goa and naval divers were roped in.

Earlier, locals had spotted six bodies.

It was not clear yet what caused the mishap but officials said the boat was carrying more people than its capacity. Some media reports said that the boat was carrying 30 people.

According to PTI, there were 28 people on the boat, all pilgrims returning from Kurumagada island in the Arabian sea to the Karwar beach, police said Monday.

Police said there was an annual fair at the Kurumagada island where the Narsimha Swamy shrine (dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s incarnation Narsimha) is located. “Nearly 1,000 people had gone there to take part in the fair. While returning to the beach, the boat carrying 28 passengers capsized,” PTI quoted police as saying.

Top district administration officials and police personnel were present near the mishap site and taking stock of the situation there. Locals are also helping in the ongoing rescue operation there.