29 November 2018

Uganda: Bodies Trapped Under Boat Wreckage - Divers

Photo: Iryn Namubiru/Instagram
Irene Namubiru

Several bodies are still trapped under the wreckage of sunken boat, according to police marines and UPDF divers. The boat capsized in Lake Victoria near Mutima beach in Mpatta sub-county in Mukono district on Saturday night last week while transporting revellers to K-Palm beach from Ggaba.

At least 33 bodies have been retrieved and 27 others rescued. At least more than 100 people are estimated to have been on the boat. A team of divers from the police and UPDF marines have been combing the lake to find more bodies and retrieve the wreckage from the lake.

Police divers told URN on Wednesday afternoon on condition of anonymity since they are not authorised to speak to the media that they had seen several bodies trapped under the wreckage and notified their commanders.

"When I went down to check how the capsized boat was stuck, I saw a body while peeping through the wreckage, I told my colleagues, they went under and also saw others [bodies]. If we can move the boat, we can be sure [to find so many bodies]," one of the divers said.

The police spokesperson in charge of the rescue operation, Zurah Ganyana declined to comment on the matter when contacted by URN.

"It has been a long day and I am very tired. Am not going to say anything," Ganyana said while driving from Mutima beach where police has set up a command centre to coordinate the operation.

Efforts to retrieve the boat were suspended yesterday after the cable wires being used to pull out the wreckage snapped twice. Police have already received reports about five people believed to have been on the ill-fated boat. They include Peter Kakooza, a resident of Masaka, Silvia Namutebi from Nakisunga, Godfrey Musis of Kabalagala, Andrew Ssenyonga of Kireka and Eroon Ndagire of Kitende.

Divers have also recovered identification documents including national identity cards and driving permits of nine people who are unaccounted for. They include Doreen Arinaitwe, Samalie Nakakazi, a member of Uganda Law Society, Stellah Nabaasa, Lindah Nankungu, Mariam Nakigudde, Irene Alitubera, Zahura Paul Apuuli, Martha Kawalya and a one Namayanja. There is suspicion that it is some of these people who are trapped under the boat wreckage.

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