Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Many Feared Dead as Ferry With 500 Passengers Capsizes on L. Victoria

Many Feared Dead as Ferry With 500 Passengers Capsizes on L. Victoria

At least 44 people drowned when a ferry sank in Tanzania's Lake Victoria on Thursday, and government officials fear the final death toll could be more than 200, a senior local official said.

Mwanza Regional Police Commander Jonathan Shanna said the accident occurred on Thursday September 20.

Rescue teams are expected to resume their search for hundreds of missing ferry passengers Friday, after a dangerously overcrowded boat capsized on Lake Victoria in Tanzania's north.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents.

The ferry which plies Bugorora to Ukara island route in Mwanza Province is said to have sunk with over 100 people aboard.

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Estimates indicate that the boat was carrying more than 300 people, but the exact number remains unclear as the ticket machine went down with the vessel, according to the ferry operator.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (Temesa), which operates ferry services, said the MV Nyerere did not have any mechanical problems because heavy maintenance had been carried on it in recent months including overhauling two engines.

Lake Victoria spans more than 26,000 square miles and is the third largest lake in the world.

Capsizes are not uncommon in the massive 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.

Ferries in Tanzania are often overcrowded, and the lack of an accurate passenger manifest is complicating rescue operations.

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