Up to 22 Christmas vacationers in India were feared dead after a boat capsized on a lake near the southern city of Chennai Sunday afternoon, government officials said.

The accident happened in Pulicat, a tourist spot about 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Chennai, when a family of 25 went on a boat ride, Ashish Chatterjee, the top government official in Tiruvallur district of the southern Tamil Nadu state, told Reuters.

Three survived and eight bodies have been recovered so far, Chatterjee said, adding search was on to find more bodies.

(Reporting by S. Murari)