BELEM, Brazil (AP) _ A ship overcrowded with 125 religious pilgrims sank Saturday in northern Brazil after crashing into a sandbank. At least 25 people drowned.

The ship was carrying 125 people, 45 more than it could hold, when it went down in the Acara River, police spokesman Lt. Carlos Alberto Reis said by telephone from Belem.

Reis said 22 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage by nightfall.

The ship left Belem on Friday night for Acara, a town 60 miles away. It sank halfway between them.

Reis said the number of victims could not be determined immediately because of poor communications.

The pilgrims were headed to Acara for Sunday celebrations paying homage to the Virgin of Nazareth. The festivity is a tradition in Para state.