21 September 2018

Tanzania: Lake Victoria Ferry Capsizes, Killing Over 100

Photo: DW
The passenger ferry, MV Nyerere, which capsized.

It is unknown how many passengers were aboard, and authorities have said the death toll could reach 200. The Tanzanian government said the passenger ferry capsized near the dock and that 37 people have been rescued.

At least 100 people were killed when a passenger ferry sank on the southern end of Tanzania's Lake Victoria near Ukara Island, government officials said on Friday.

Authorities were able to rescue 37 people after the passenger ferry MV Nyerere went down just meters from the dock on Thursday.

As rescue operations resumed on Friday morning, the death toll continued to rise. The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, which is in charge of maintaining the country's ferries, said that hundreds of people are still missing and called for patience.

Hundreds still missing

It is unknown just how many passengers were onboard, yet vessels on the lake are often overcrowded. The ferry was also reportedly carrying cargo.

George Nyamaha, head of the Ukerewe district council, said, "There were more than a hundred people onboard when the ferry sank, it is feared that a significant number lost their lives." The Tanzanian government has said that as many as 200 people may have drowned in the accident.

The incident is not the first of its kind in Tanzania. At least 145 people were killed in 2012 when a ferry sank off the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. In 1996, at least 500 people were killed when a ferry went down near the same spot as Thursday's capsizing on Lake Victoria.

rs, js/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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