Maputo — At least five people drowned when a grossly overloaded boat capsized off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Sunday morning.
The tragedy happened when a boat making the journey from Quirimba island, in Ibo district, to Quissanga, on the mainland, overturned.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Cabo Delgado provincial government, Antonio Mapure, cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the boat had a capacity for 20 passengers, but on Sunday it was carrying 62 people, plus assorted cargo consisting mostly of fresh and dried fish.
"According to the information we have received from the Ibo district government", said Mapure, "it is presumed that overcrowding and excess weight of cargo caused the accident".
57 people escaped from the capsized boat with their lives, and five of the passengers are confirmed dead.
The provincial government has set up a multi-sector commission that will provide medical and psychological aid to the survivors and to the families of those who lost their lives. The commission is also charged with undertaking a full investigation into the causes of the disaster.