updated 3/15/2006 8:18:42 PM ET 2006-03-16T01:18:42

At least 27 people drowned when a farmer's overloaded boat capsized while ferrying passengers from a fair in southwest China, the government said Thursday.

The boat was registered to carry only two passengers at a time and was being used illegally to ferry people across a river in the Sichuan province's Yuechi County when it sank on Wednesday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Seven people were rescued and 27 bodies were recovered, Xinhua said, up from original reports on Wednesday of six bodies recovered. Rescuers were uncertain how many people were aboard when the boat sank.

The cause of the accident was under investigation, Xinhua said.

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