At least 30 people drowned and more than 60 were feared dead after a pleasure boat sank in Lake Victoria, Ugandan police said Sunday, in the latest such incident on Africa's largest body of water.
Uganda police have said the accident was caused by overloading and that the boat was also poorly maintained.
Ugandan media named a number of well-known people said to be on the boat, adding that the prince of a traditional kingdom had survived. He attributed the discrepancy to some survivors' failure to register with the police. Among the dead is vessel owner Templar Bisase, fisherman Bosco Owecho who was among the first responders to the tragedy and is said to have been overwhelmed by the weight of those he was attempting to rescue.
This is why, apart from the anti-bad fishing campaign which the UPDF has been carrying out for some months now on the lakes, the government has also ordered the electronic registration and monitoring of all the boats so that we can know who is where on the lake and why.
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Another 26 people had been rescued from the water, Onyango said, a lower figure than the initial 40 given by the police yesterday.
By 10:00am today, six more bodies had been retrieved from the lake with officers mentioning that they do not expect to find anymore survivors.
"We rushed to help but the passengers couldn't swim and when we got beside them with our boats they grabbed us", he said.
"We suspect the mechanical condition of the boat and the weather contributed to the sinking". "The rescuers died too".
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The boat's passengers, in a party mood halfway through their journey, likely panicked when the vessel started to sink, he said.
In September an overloaded MV Nyerere passenger ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, off the Tanzania coast, killing over 200 people.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people can not swim.
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