AT least 13 people drowned and seven others are missing after a boat they were sailing in capsized near Kasere Village in Kalambo District, Rukwa Region, on Lake Tanganyika on Wednesday, police said.
The Rukwa Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Jacob Mwaruanda, said the boat had 30 passengers and only 10 survived after they either managed to swim to the shore or rescued. "We have launched a manhunt for the pilot of the ill-fated boat, one Lazaro Sikapote (26).
"He is alleged to have overloaded the boat. He is among those who swum to the shore," the RPC told the 'Daily News' from the scene of the accident.
Mr Mwaruanda said the boat is owned by Mr Jestars Sikazwa and had the capacity to carry 25 passengers only, but had 30 passengers on the material day.
"Both the boat pilot and the owner disappeared after the accident, but we are still hunting them for causing the accident and operating the boat without registration," he said. Mr Mwaruanda said two out of the 11 bodies, were of women.
The rest were children aged between two and five years old. He said they were travelling from Kasere to Kipwa. "They are believed to have been mothers who were taking their children to a clinic at Kipwa village for vaccination because Kapere village has no clinic," said the RPC.
Mr Mwaruanda pointed out that the people had to use boats or canoes because there is no other way to reach Kipwa village other than using boats or canoes.
The he deceased's bodies were handed over to their families yesterday morning at Kasere village.
According to the RPC, the rescue exercise, jointly carried out by the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) and the Police Force was still going on.