Death toll exceeds 100 in Tanzania ferry disaster

Rescue workers at the scene where a ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, yesterday.
Rescue workers at the scene where a ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania) • At least 136 bodies have been retrieved after a ferry sank in Lake Victoria, Tanzanian state radio reported yesterday, and hundreds more were still missing as rescuers searched for survivors from daybreak on the morning after the disaster.

Radio TBC Taifa reported the latest toll from the sinking of the ferry MV Nyerere, which capsized on Thursday afternoon just a few metres 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, Mr Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for the port of Mwanza on the south coast of the lake, said yesterday.

Mr Shana said more rescuers had joined the operation yesterday when it resumed at daylight, but he did not give exact numbers.

The precise number of those aboard the ferry when it capsized was hard to establish as crew and equipment had been lost, officials said on Thursday.

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.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2018, with the headline 'Death toll exceeds 100 in Tanzania ferry disaster'. Subscribe