Tanzania's MV Nyerere Ferry Capsizes on Lake Victoria, Dozens Feared Dead
24 September, 2018, 01:51 | Author: Donnie King
A total of 44 bodies were recovered yesterday, and dozens more were found this morning when the rescue operation resumed, Mwanza Regional Commissioner John Mongella confirmed to the Citizen newspaper.
"It is unfortunate that our operation on the lake is no longer rescue but largely recovery", said the Commissioner.
An official investigation will take place once rescue efforts to find survivors have ended.
At least 136 bodies have been retrieved after a ferry sank on Lake Victoria, close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday.
"I have not heard from either my father or my younger brother who were on the ferry". The boat had a capacity of 620 passengers but was carrying over 1,000 people.
Exact figures, though, are yet to be confirmed - Reuters said the person who dispensed tickets for the journey also died, with the machine recording the data lost.
More than 200 people are feared dead based on accounts from fishermen and other witnesses because passengers had been returning from a busy market day, Tanzania Red Cross spokeswoman Godfrida Jola said.
The MV Nyerere ferry sank with an unknown number of passengers on Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island, according to Tanzania's Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency. It was one of the worst nautical disasters of the last century.
Lake Victoria's waters can be rough and boats are frequently poorly maintained, while ferry operators often fail to record the number of passengers on board.
According to The Associated Press, "Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda".
The country has been faced with similar tragedies in the past, with at least 145 people dying in a ferry disaster in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean in 2012.
Such ferries often carry hundreds of people and are overcrowded.
The deadliest such incident in recent decades was in May 1996, when about 800 people died after their ferry sank on the way to Mwanza in Tanzania.
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