NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ A passenger ship carrying at least 300 Hindu pilgrims capsized today in the Ganges River in eastern India, and 38 people were reported killed and hundreds missing.

Accounts issued by the police and Indian news agencies differed on how many people were aboard and how many were killed, missing or rescued.

J.M. Qureshi, director general of police, told reporters in Patna, the capital of Bihar state, that the privately owned, steam-powered launch was carrying 300 pilgrims when it capsized in the rain-swollen river. He said 100 people were rescued and that divers were looking for bodies and survivors.

United News of India said the launch was carrying 500 passengers, 38 bodies were recovered and 50 people swam to safety. It said the remaining 412 people were missing and presumed drowned.

Another news agency, the Press Trust of India, said at least 400 passengers were feared drowned.

The accident occured near the town of Katihar, 650 miles east of New Delhi. The launch was ferrying Hindu pilgrims from the town of Manihar Ghat across the river to the town of Sahebganj.