Body count soars to 136 in Tanzania ferry tragedy


Rescue workers are seen at the scene where a ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, Tanzania ...
Rescue workers are seen at the scene where a ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, Tanzania September 21, 2018, in this still image taken from video. Reuters TV/via REUTERS

In Summary

  • Tanzania has been hit by several major ferry disasters over the years.
  • At least 500 people were killed when a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria in 1996.
  • In 2012, 145 people died when a ferry sank off the shore of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar.

At least 136 bodies have been retrieved after a Tanzania ferry sank on Lake Victoria, Simon Sirro, a top police official said on Friday.

Scores more are still feared missing as rescuers searched for survivors on the morning after the disaster.

The ferry MV Nyerere capsized on Thursday afternoon just a few meters from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island, which is part of Tanzania.

Initial estimates suggested that the ferry was carrying more than 300 people.

Thirty-seven people had been rescued from the sea, Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for the port of Mwanza on the south coast of the lake told Reuters by phone on Friday.

Shana said more rescuers had joined the operation when it resumed at daylight on Friday. He did not give exact numbers.

On Friday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta condoled with Tanzanians saying: ” On behalf of the people of Kenya and on my own behalf, I express our most sincere condolences to my brother President John Magufuli and our dear neighbour of the United Republic of Tanzania following the tragic capsizing of MV Nyerere in the Lake Victoria Waters.”

Tanzania has been hit by several major ferry disasters over the years. At least 500 people were killed when a Tanzania ferry capsized in Lake Victoria in 1996.

In 2012, 145 people died when a ferry sank off the shore of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar.

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