The death toll in the Tanzania’s ferry tragedy in Lake Victoria has hit 218, State broadcaster TBC said late on Saturday.
Bodies continued to float to the surface around the vessel,
which initial estimates suggested had been carrying more than
Dozens of relatives stood crying by the shoreline as they
waited for information on their loved ones.
Coffins were lined
up nearby awaiting bodies being pulled from the vessel, which
lay belly up in the water just metres from the shoreline.
“The ferry overturned very fast and covered us,” survivor
Charles Ngarima told Reuters.
“I was lucky that I was able to
swim under water not knowing where I was swimming to… While
trying to swim to safety, I found a number of metal bars that
cut my face and the back of my head.”
Another survivor, Jennifer Idhoze, said the ferry had
capsized because it was overloaded. “I was able to jump out of
the ferry… That is how I survived,” she said.
Works, Transport and Communication Minister Isack Kamwelwe
said the government was sending special equipment to aid the
“This equipment will increase efficiency in the rescue
operation and we will continue with the search until we are
satisfied that we have rescued everyone,” he told Reuters.
The ferry sank on Thursday evening just a few metres from
the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island.
On Friday, President John Magufuli ordered the arrest of
those responsible for the sinking. The government has also pledged to cater for the victims’ funeral expenses.
At least 136 bodies were retrieved by Thursday.