At least 42 people died (but the final number is not known) after a passenger ferry which plies Bugorora to Ukara island route in Mwanza Province capsized on Thursday in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria, the largest lake in the country.
The boat sunk just a few meters from the dock in the Ukerewe district. At least 102 people had been rescued but the service had yet to establish how many passengers were on board. Up to 200 people are believed to have drowned. Tanzanian security forces have launched search and rescue operations following the accident. Locals joined emergency teams in rescue efforts. Some nearby fisherman were able to save roughly 30 people from the water. It is not known what caused the ferry to get into difficulty. Maintenance on the ferry has carried in recent months, overhauling two engines.
Rescue operation in Tanzania
President John Magufuli has sent his condolences to families of the victims. Tanzania’s Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency (TEMESA), which operates ferry services, said the boat, known as MV Nyerere, was carrying more than its capacity, in addition to cargo. It’s believed that as between 400 and 500 passengers were on the ferry. It had a capacity of 100 passengers and about 25 tonnes of cargo. Scores are feared after hours afyer accident. "We pray to God to give us hope that there has not been a high death toll, Regional Commissioner Adam Malima told to media. In 1996, a ferry disaster on Lake Victoria in the same region killed at least 500 people.
At least 126 people were killed in the accident.