Tanzania ferry capsizes: 200 drown in Lake Victoria tourist tragedy

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Friday condoled families of the people who perished in the MV Nyerere tragedy in Tanzania./COURTESY

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Friday condoled families of the people who perished in the MV Nyerere tragedy in Tanzania./COURTESY

Local authorities do not exclude that the resumption of the search and rescue operation this morning the number of dead could still rise.

At least 136 bodies have been retrieved after a ferry sank on Lake Victoria, close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday. Capsizes are not uncommon and the number of deaths is often high because of a shortage of lifejackets and the fact that many people in the region can not swim. However, the exact cause of the crash vehicle is still not named. Preliminary investigations, the paper said, showed the ferry had carried more passengers than its capacity permitted.

The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was travelling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.

"I received a call telling me that I have lost my aunt, father and my younger brother", Editha Josephat Magesa said.

Thirty-seven people had been rescued from the sea, while the confirmed death toll rose to 44 from 42, Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for Mwanza, a port on the southern shore of the lake, told Reuters by phone on Friday. It was one of the worst maritime disasters of the last century. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence", said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of Chadema, the main opposition party.

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Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where passenger boats are often said to be old and in poor condition.

With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

The year before, nearly 200 people died in another major incident off the coast of Zanzibar.

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore between the islands of Ukora and Bugolora.

This disaster will ignite memories of more than twenty years ago when over 800 people died after a ferry capsized in the very same waters of Lake Victoria.

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