Scores dead after ferry sinks in Tanzania

KAMPALA, Uganda — Rescue efforts resumed Friday morning after a Tanzanian passenger ferry capsized on Lake Victoria, and the death toll, already near 90, was expected to rise. John Mongella, commissioner for the Mwanza region, told The Associated Press that at least 86 people were confirmed dead.

At least 37 people were rescued from the sunken ferry as of Thursday evening, but rescue teams called off their mission overnight.

“I cannot speculate” how many people had been on board, Mongella said. “Right now our focus is on rescue.”

Such ferries often carry hundreds of people and are overcrowded.

No foreigners have been found among the dead, Mwanza police commander Jonathan Shanna said Friday.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, in charge of servicing the vessels, urged patience in a statement as rescue efforts began.

The passenger ferry MV Nyerere was traveling between Ukara and Bugolora and capsized near the area of Mwanza, the agency said.


Locals approach a capsized ferry in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, after a capsize that left dozens dead, Sept. 21, 2018.


Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

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

In 1996, more than 800 people were killed when the passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

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