updated 4/1/2008 5:46:19 PM ET 2008-04-01T21:46:19

A large canoe packed with wedding revelers escorting a bride to her new husband capsized on a river in Nigeria, leaving at least 26 passengers dead, police said Tuesday.

Kano State police spokesman Baba Mohammed said three people survived the accident late Monday on a river in the northern state, while 26 bodies were recovered. With some 40 people believed onboard, about a dozen more were missing, he said. It was not known if the bride's body had been recovered.

About a dozen watercraft could be seen combing the river Tuesday in the vicinity of the accident. Townspeople said the canoe, which was carrying the bride to the home of her new husband, hit a tree submerged in the river, tumbling the passengers into the water.

Many Africans rely on water travel to reach destinations unreachable by road. But boats are often packed beyond capacity by captains seeking to maximize profits, and accidents are common.

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