Fishermen raced to the scene to help, and officials deployed police and a team from the National Disasters Relief Force.
Divers from Indian Navy from Visakhapatnam joined efforts by East Godavari district officials on Wednesday morning to trace several people who were missing after a motor launch capsized in river Godavari last evening. He said officials had been asked to take up the rescue operations on a war footing.
Proper record-keeping is rare on the many ferries that work the Godavari, making it hard to know how many people were on the boat. They are saying that due to the wind and rain several women and children locked the door of the cabin and were stuck inside when the boat went down.
It was learnt that driver of the 53-seater boat Khaja had surrendered himself in the Devipatnam police station immediately after the incident.
Most of the passengers were part of a 20-member wedding party, the Hindustan Times reported.
Local media reports suggest that the passenger boat started from Devipatnam and was en route to Vadapalli.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa took stock of the situation.