Mutima (Uganda) (AFP) – Twenty-two people have died and more than 60 are afraid of drowning after a pleasure boat…
Mutima (Uganda) (AFP) – Twenty-two people have died and more than 60 are afraid of drowning after a pleasure boat sank on Lake Victoria, the Ugandan police said Sunday.
The ship with nearly a hundred revelers dropped in bad weather on Saturday in the latest lethal event to affect passenger ships in Africa’s largest lake.
“Twenty-two agencies have been rescued and 26 people are rescued,” said Asuman Mugenyi, Head of Operation for Uganda’s Police. “According to one of the survivors, there were more than 90 people on board.”
The boat, which party traders drink, danced and listened to music, dropped a short distance from the beach outside Mutima in Mukono District, close to the capital Kampala.
Mugenyi said that congestion and bad weather would probably blame.
“We expect (the number of passengers) is beyond the capacity of the boat. It was overloaded and unfortunately people were full.” Mugenyi said. “We suspect the boat’s mechanical condition and the weather contributed to the sinking.”
“A big storm struck,” said local government chief Richard Kikongo. “It may be good on land but bad weather on the lake.”
Kikongo said that the first respondents were among the victims. “Fishermen on two small boats could see that the boat dropped and went to help. People tried to jump on the boats, but they were too many and they fell. The rescuers also died,” he said.
Nearby residents said the ship was rented for parties every weekend and often overloaded with revelers.
Mutima Country Haven Resort had been transformed into a triage center and morning on Sunday morning where police gathered the swollen bodies of victims
Police spokesman Emilian Kayima rescue efforts continued.
Lake Victoria is the site of many boat disasters. In September hundreds died when MV Nyerere passenger color dropped on Tanzania’s side of Lake Victoria.
With an area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), the oval-shaped Lake Victoria is approximately as large as Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to crash on the lake and the number of deaths is often high due to lack of life jackets and the fact that many local people can not swim.
In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when MV Bukoba dropped off the mainland Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.