44 killed as Tanzanian ferry capsizes in Lake Victoria

Charlene Craig
September 24, 2018

The local media reports said that the ferry's official capacity was 100 people and officials confirmed that the vessel was carrying more than 400 passengers when it capsized, the report said.

"Let's leave designated authorities to investigate", he said.

Rescue efforts have been halted until dawn on Friday. It was one of the the worst ferry disasters of the last century.

The broadcaster cited witnesses reporting that over 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugorora Island at around midday.

In a televised address, the president said the ferry captain already had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who wasn't properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

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At least 40 people were rescued but scores of bodies have been recovered.

It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize in the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region can not swim. Images from the scene showed the ferry's exposed underside not far from shore. The rescuers were also retrieving dozens of bodies from the water.

The ferry sank on Thursday evening just a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake's biggest island.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Uganda and Kenya offered their condolences, while Pope Francis in a statement expressed "the greatest solidarity with those who have been bereaved" by the disaster.

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned when it was close to Ukara island.

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Anxious residents on Friday waited for any word of survivors.

At least 44 people were killed after a passenger ferry capsized in Lake Victoria, a Tanzanian government official said on Thursday.

"We try to make calls to friends, relatives", a local guide, Paschal Phares, said.

Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, and the world's second largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America. In 2012, 145 people died when a ferry sank off the shore of Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar.

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