12 boat tragedies that have left Kerala mourning over the past century

In the latest incident, at least 22 people, including eight children, lost their lives when a recreational boat overturned near Thooval Theeram tourist spot in Tanur on May 7

Kerala boat tragedy
Hunt on for possible survivors of Sunday's boat capsize near Thooval Theeram tourist spot on Monday morning | Video grab: Twitter/ANI

The May 7 boat tragedy that left at least 22 people, including children, dead near Tuvalthiram beach in Tanur area of Kerala’s Malappuram district was not the first of its kind. Many such boat accidents have taken scores of lives in the southern city over the past century.

The first boat tragedy that shook Kerala was in 1924, which claimed the life of renowned poet and social reformer N Kumaranashan. The biggest tragedy in terms of casualties was at Thekkadi, when 46 people lost their lives in 2009.

Here is a select list of boat accidents that left Kerala mourning over the last century:

January 16, 1924

Thirty-four passengers, including N Kumaranasan, one of the three great writers of contemporary Malayalam poetry and a master philosopher, perished in the 25-meter-wide Pallana River section when a boat named Redeemer capsized. There were 151 persons on board; many on the deck swam to safety.

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March 19, 1980

A boat mishap in Kannamaly, Eranakulam, in 1980 claimed 29 lives. The ill- fated ferry was carrying pilgrims of a church at Kannamally.

August 25, 1983

Eighteen people lost their lives when a boat capsized in Vembanad Lake near Vallarpadam, Ernakulam.


Seven persons drowned when a boat capsized at Peppara Dam in Thiruvananthapuram.


A Periyar boat mishap in Kochi, Ernakulam, claimed four lives.

July 27, 2002

Twenty-nine people drowned in Vembanad Lake when a passenger ferry capsized between Muhamma and Kumarakom in Kuttanad.

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January 2, 2005

Four persons, including a foreigner, drowned in Vembanad Lake.

February 20, 2007

Fifteen schoolchildren and three teachers of an excursion party died when their recreational boat capsized in the lake inside Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary in Eranakulam. The boat was overcrowded and was ferrying people in an untimely hour, according to the judicial commission report.

September 30, 2009

Forty-five tourists drowned in Thekkady lake when a double-decker boat, Jalakanyaka, owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, capsized in Thekkady, Kottayam. The reason was overloading and lack of instability of the boat, coupled with inexperience of crewmembers, according to the inquiry report.

August 27, 2015

Eight persons were killed when a boat carrying 30 people capsized and sank after being hit by a fishing craft in the harbour mouth off Fort Kochi in Ernakulam.

December 26, 2017

Six children drowned after a country boat capsized on a lake in Naranippuzha, Malappuram district.

May 7, 2023

At least 22 people, including eight children, lost their lives when a recreational boat overturned in Purappuzha river mouth near Thooval Theeram tourist spot, Tanur.