Local fishermen swung into action and rescued 15 passengers, the Press Trust of India reported. The boat was sailing towards the confluence of Krishna and Godavari rivers from Bhavani islands when it capsized.
The Police said 38 people, who were on picnic party on the occasion of Karthika Masam, boarded a boat, being operated by a private company. Later, 16 bodies were fished out of the river. Officials said 41 passengers, including 31 members of Ongole Wakers Club, were on the boat when it overturned. The boat with around 38 persons was heading to the Pavitra Sangamam Ferry ghat near Ibrahimpatnam. Another three passengers were rescued by the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) late in the night.
Another 20 people swam to safety or were rescued by villagers in the Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh state Home Minister N. Chinnarajappa said.
The state government on Sunday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs to the families of the bereaved.
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed shock over the incident and directed the authorities to intensify rescue operations.
Andhra Pradesh Congress committee president N Raghuveera Reddy visited the accident spot and later the hospital.