Maputo — At least six people have died and several others are reportedly missing after a boat sank on Monday morning in the administrative post of Nova Sofala, district of Buzi, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala.
According to Tuesday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias", five people were rescued and rushed to the local hospital.
Sources from the Sofala maritime administration confirmed the accident, adding that the deceased are three adults and equal number of children.
The head of the administrative post of Nova Sofala, João Bizeque Júnior, told "Noticias" that the boat sank in the area of Nova Sofala Tourist Centre, after setting sail from the village of Ampara to the city of Beira.
"We confirm the accident that may have been caused by over-loading, in this case of salt, dried fish, rice and coconuts," he said.
Both crew members fled the scene shortly after the accident. However, Junior pledged that the fugitives will be caught, but that the priority at the moment is to proceed with search and rescue operations of the missing people.
The maritime authorities believe that human error is the most probable cause of the accident and dismiss any suggestions of bad weather.
Search operations are being coordinated by Sofala Maritime Administration in partnership with the authorities of Nova Sofala, who dispatched a rescue team to search for survivors in the perimeter of the area where the accident occurred.
Júnior said that information yet to be confirmed points that there were 17 people on board, including two crew members.
This is the second boat accident reported in Nova Sofala so far this year. The last was reported on 30 May, when at least seven people died and eight were rescued alive.
Six years ago 11 people died in the same region when they were caught by surprise by bad weather.