Aug. 15 (UPI) -- At least 24 children and one woman in Sudan drowned Wednesday when a boat taking them to a school sank near the Nile River as the engine broke down amid heavy rains and wind.
The boat taking students to Kenba High School sank as it crossed a flooded area near the Nile River, around 470 miles north of Sudan's capital Khartoum, causing panic among the children ranging in age from 7 to 16, the BBC reported. Officials found two bodies Wednesday.
A female hospital worker, who was with the students, also drowned, the state-run SUNA News Agency reported.
The vessel was carrying 40 students, according to SUNA.
Kenba High School headmaster Ab el-Khayr Adam Yunis told the BBC the students usually walk to school, but took a boat because of flooding.
"Those who died were mostly girls," Yunis told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio program.
"One family lost five daughters, and another three families lost two children each, and two families lost three children each."
The sinking occurred when the engine shut down as a result of the strength of the current.
Civil Defense Forces were searching the Nile River for the missing.