79 killed in Tanzania ferry capsize

Hugh Fox
September 24, 2018

At least 40 people had been rescued, he said, but the number on Friday (local time) barely rose.

The ageing ferry, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible after it overturned, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement, when it capsized around 50 metres from Ukara dock. "But no one knows" just how many people were on board. However, the exact cause of the crash vehicle is still not named.

Officials in Tanzania say the death toll from a ferry sinking on Lake Victoria has risen to at least 100 people, but with hundreds of passengers thought to have been on board, the toll is expected to rise. The company responsible for the ferry said it is unknown how many people were on the ferry.

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"Some of the bodies have already been identified and taken by relatives", Mwanza Regional Police Commander Jonathan Shana said.

"I received a call telling me that I have lost my aunt, father and my younger brother", Editha Josephat Magesa said.

The disaster underlines the issue of unsafe overcrowding on ferries in the region.

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The government says the passenger ferry MV Nyerere was traveling between Ukara and Bugolora on Thursday when it sank. She said they had taken the ferry to buy a school uniform and a few other things.

Mongella said 218 people had been confirmed dead, while 41 escaped the tragedy with their lives - a total figure far above the official capacity of the boat, which was in theory only able to carry 101 passengers. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence", said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of Chadema, the main opposition party.

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, straddling the borders of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In 2012, 145 people died when a ferry sank off the shore of Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar.

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Earlier today, Tanzania's president John Magufuli ordered the arrest of the management of the ferry that was involved in the disaster. Officials said more than 130 people were killed when the overcrowded boat capsized.

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