Khartoum (Agencies): At least 22 Sudanese children drowned on Wednesday when their boat while crossing the Nile River sank in Sudan, the country's state news agency reported.

The boat was carrying more than 40 students on their way to school in the northern River Nile state, SUNA said. The report did not say how old the students were.

A woman, who drowned was an employee at a local hospital, was also drowned, according to the news agency.

"The accident was caused by engine failure halfway across because of a strong current," it said.

The victims' bodies have not yet been found, SUNA added.

Villagers in the region rely on wooden boats to cross the Nile .

“All the families (in the area) are in mourning,” a witness said.

Sudan suffers monsoon rains which regularly last from June to November and cause the Nile and its tributaries to overflow. The Nile is an important transport route for people and goods in the African nation.

One of the world's longest rivers, the Nile is formed from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile , which meet just north of Sudan's capital, Khartoum.