Tanzania ferry accident: Man rescued from sunken ship as search for survivors continues

An initial estimate predicted there were more than 300 passengers on board

Saman Javed
Saturday 22 September 2018 17:08
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More than 100 dead after Tanzania ferry sinks on Lake Victoria

Divers rescued a man on Saturday as they continued their search for survivors after an overcrowded ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in Tanzania, leaving at least 160 dead.

Four navy divers entered the MV Nyerere ferry on Saturday after hearing sounds that suggested signs of life.

A man was pulled out of the overturned ship two days after the disaster and rushed to hospital, one witness told Reuters.

The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation reported the engineer had shut himself in the engine room. His condition is not immediately known.

As coffins begin to arrive for the dead and bodies continue to float around the ship, there have been conflicting reports on the death toll, with the highest being 183.

Works, transport and communication minister Isack Kamwelwe said the government was sending sophisticated equipment to aid the rescue effort.

“This equipment will increase efficiency in the rescue operation and we will continue with the search until we are satisfied that we have rescued everyone,” he said.

Relatives of the deceased had started to identify the bodies of their loved ones, he added.

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

It is not clear how many people were on board but an initial estimate said there were more than 300 passengers.

Tanzania Red Cross spokesperson Godfrida Jola told Associated Press that she feared “more than 200 people are dead”, because many passengers had been returning from a busy market day.

On Friday, president John Magufuli announced a four-day mourning period for the victims.

“During the mourning period the national flag will fly at half-mast,” said chief secretary at State House John Kijazi, adding that the president has ordered the detention of all employees at the ferry for questioning.

The president also ordered the arrest of safety inspectors from the country’s transport regulator, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority.

Pope Francis and a number of African leaders have expressed shock and sorrow.

“His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing,” his telegram said, according to the Vatican.

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake, which is 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.

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