Jul 31, 2:55 AM EDT

19 swimmers drown off Pakistan beaches

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Rescuers say at least 19 people have drowned off southern Pakistan beaches because of heavy waves and strong currents.

Farooq Baluch, the director of Pakistan's largest private emergency service, said Thursday that rescuers had pulled 19 bodies from the water near the southern city of Karachi.

City administrator Shoaib Sadiqui said the victims ignored safety warnings and drowned Wednesday due to a combination of high winds and strong current. He said a large number of people had gathered on the beaches to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Sadiqui said rescuers from the Pakistan navy and Baluch's Edhi Foundation were still combing the waters for missing people.

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