DHAKA    -   At least 23 people were killed and several dozen more were missing on Sunday after a boat cap­sized in a river in Bangladesh, police said.

“We have recovered 23 bodies. Firefighters and divers are searching for more bodies,” local police official Shafiqul Islam told a news agency.

The boat was packed with up to 50 Hindu pilgrims, police said. They were travelling to a centuries-old temple when the vessel suddenly tipped over and sank in the middle of the Karotoa river near the town of Boda in northern Bangladesh. Another police offi­cer said up to 25 people were still missing. Local me­dia said at least 10 people were rescued and sent to hospital. Thousands of Hindus in Muslim-majority Bangladesh visit the Bodeshwari Temple every year. Sunday marked the start of the Durga Puja, the big­gest Hindu festival in Bangladesh and also eastern India — drawing large crowds at the temple.

Boat tragedies caused by poor maintenance and overcrowding are common in Bangladesh, a poor nation crisscrossed by rivers. A ferry sank in Dha­ka last year after a collision with another vessel, killing at least 32 people. At least 78 people died in February 2015 when an overcrowded ship collid­ed with a cargo vessel in a river west of the capital.