A cruise boat hired for weekend parties capsized on Lake Victoria, Saturday, killing at least 31 people and toll is expected to rise.
The boat was in poor condition, had been grounded for some time and did not have a valid licence to operate. The vessel was carrying close to 100 people when it sank near capital Kampala. The boat was overloaded and there was bad weather. The police deployed a helicopter to help search for living people and dead’s bodies. “They were shouting ‘Help us! Help us!’ and the boat was sinking very quickly,” said one of several local men who used fishermen’s canoes to rescue people.
Rescue operation on Lake Victoria in Uganda
More than 25 people have been rescued from the water but an unknown number are missing. A number of well-known people and popular artists were said to be on the boat. Among those rescued was Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja, a brother of the king of Uganda's largest traditional kingdom, Buganda. Musical artist Iryn Namubiru also survived. Many of those on board had no lifejackets. Victims include the couple who owned the boat. Two small fishing boats that came to the rescue also became overloaded and sank. Lake Victoria, shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, is the world's second-biggest lake and the largest in Africa. Diving teams were retrieving bodies from the lake on Sunday. Boat accidents are increasingly common on east Africa’s major lakes, including Lake Victoria.