Eight people drowned in the Tungabhadra river near Madalagatti village in Hoovinahadagali taluk on Tuesday while they were immersing the ashes of their relative.
The dead were identified as Yallu Sa Badi (80), Nagaraj Sa Badi (48), Raju Narayana Sa (42), Visnhu Sa Badi (34), Manik Sa Chowdari (48), Tika Sa Bakali (48), Amruta Tika Sa (38) and Ambubai (50).
They had come to the river to immerse the ashes of their relative Anand Sa, father of Vishnu Sa Badi from Gadag-Betageri. The incident happened when Yallu Sa Badi first got into the water and suddenly was pulled down.
Others tried to save him but were also caught in the stream. The women threw their sari ends for the men to catch but unfortunately instead of pulling them up, they too were pulled down and within no time all of them drowned.
Efforts to recover the bodies were hampered by a rise in the water level in the river following heavy rain in the region. One body was recovered by evening. Search is on for other bodies.