At least 24 people have died after a boat carrying about 100 Hindu pilgrims capsized in a river in northern Bangladesh.

The crowded boat overturned while returning from a Hindu temple on the other side of the River Karatoa at Boda area in Panchagarh district, police said.

Divers and residents recovered at least 24 bodies by Sunday evening, police added, with at least 12 women and eight children among the dead. Many of the passengers were able to swim ashore.

It was not immediately clear how many remain missing, with divers continuing their search.

The Hindus travelled to the temple where tens of thousands of people gather every year for their largest religious festival – Durga Puja – next month.

Close to 8% of Bangladesh’s more than 160 million people are Hindu in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

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