Lake Victoria, Tanzania: Hundreds feared missing as ferry capsizes

21 September, 2018, 10:57 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Update Magufuli mourns as death toll from Tanzania ferry accident reaches 42

Thirty-seven people had been rescued from the sea, while the confirmed death toll rose to 44 from 42, Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for Mwanza, a port on the southern shore of the lake, told Reuters by phone on Friday.

A spokesperson confirmed 40 people had died in the tragedy - with the number expected to rise.

At least 37 people have been rescued, authorities said, but further efforts have been halted until dawn tomorrow (Friday).

The boat sank in the afternoon near the dock at Ukerewe district.

Another official said earlier on Thursday that the vessel was overloaded with more than 400 people on board.

But it was hard to establish the precise number of passengers on board since the person dispensing tickets had also drowned and the machine recording the data had been lost.

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Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, and the world's second largest fresh water lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America.

Boats on Lake Victoria are often packed with too many passengers.

She said the ferry did not have any mechanical problems and TEMESA had carried out heavy maintenance on it in recent months, including overhauling two engines. The ferry capsized a few metres before docking, Mwami said.

In 1996 more than 800 people were killed when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

Almost 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

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