Tanzanian rescue workers scrambled Friday to find scores of people feared drowned after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, killing at least 79 people.
The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers double the ferry’s capacity when it capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday afternoon, according to reports on state media.
“At the moment the death toll is 79,” said Mwanza governor John Mongella, quoted on state television on Friday.
The number of those found alive after Thursday’s disaster remained at 37, with no more survivors found since rescue operations resumed with police and army divers Friday morning.
Rescue operations were suspended overnight and hopes are fading that more survivors might still be found, more than 18 hours since the vessel sank.
The state broadcaster cited witnesses reporting that over 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugorora Island where it was market day when locals said the vessel was commonly packed with people and goods.
“I have not heard from either my father or my younger brother who were on the ferry. They had gone to the market in Bugorora to buy a school uniform and other supplies for the new school term,” said Domina Maua who was among those seeking information about loved ones.
Sebastian John, a teacher, said such tragedies had become part of life for those living on the lake.
It remains unclear how many people are still missing.
Daily Mail, Sept21, 2018