86 dead after passenger ferry sinks on Lake Victoria

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2018

How many people were on board?

It's been hard for officials to establish the precise number of passengers on board since the person dispensing tickets had drowned, and the machine recording the data has been lost.

It has a capacity of 100 passengers and about 25 tonnes of cargo.

What are the authorities saying?

The death toll rose to over 100 on Friday, according to Tanzania's police chief Simon Sirro, cited by state radio TBC Taifa.

Shortly earlier, offficials said that at least 86 people were known to have died.

The boat was only 50 meters (164 feet) from a dock when it capsized, Tanzania's The Citizen newspaper reports.

Rescuers resumed their search at dawn.

A spokeswoman for Tanzania's national ferry services operator TEMESA said mechanical issues were not to blame and the firm had carried out maintenance on the ferry in recent months, overhauling two engines.

Local media say the MV Nyerere may have been carrying 200 passengers when it capsized.

The office of President John Pombe Magufuli released a statement saying he is shocked and saddened by the accident, and that he is praying for those who were on the ferry.

Tanzania has been hit by several major ferry disasters over the years. As many as 150 are thought to have died.

"People are saying that this ferry was just going to dock when people rushed towards one side of that ferry and that is what might have caused it to topple".

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore of Ukara island on its way from Bugorora.

At least 500 people were killed when a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria in 1996.

However, hopes were fading for more people to be pulled out of the water alive.

Other reports by iNewsToday