Four children were among the dead, according to security and health officials.
At least six people have been killed when a ferry capsized in eastern Sri Lanka, a navy spokesperson said.
Twelve people were rescued on Tuesday and the search for others is continuing, navy spokesperson Captain Indika de Silva said. It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the ferry or what caused it to overturn.
Four children were among the dead, according to a policeman and a hospital worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
The ferry was travelling from Kurinchakeni to the town of Kinniya along the country’s eastern coast and about 260km (160 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, the navy spokesperson said.
“The cause for the capsizing has not been identified yet,” Nihal Thalduwa said.
Eight navy teams, including divers, had been looking for the remaining missing people but the search has now been called off, Thalduwa added.
Ferry accidents are relatively rare in Sri Lanka because many locations are now connected by bridges.
However, the bridge that connects the two towns has been closed for repairs, forcing people to use rudimentary vessels to cross the river, said Naazik Majeed, a social activist in Kinniya.
Angry residents burned tyres and surrounded government offices, blaming officials for the accident.