Tragedy strikes on Lake Victoria as over 100 people have died in a horrible ferry accident. The ferry, which is claimed to have been far over capacity, capsized on Thursday evening. The incident has likely claimed up to 200 lives, according to officials.
The ferry that overturned is a common sight on Lake Victoria, and according to locals, they are often overcrowded.
Lake Victoria Tragedy
The ferry, MV Nyerere, turned over near Ukara island on its way from Bugorora. It is speculated that the boat overturned when the over-capacity crowd moved to one side of the boat as it docked. According to officials, the boat’s capacity was only around 100. However, somewhere around 400 people were on it when it capsized.
The overcrowding is somewhat common on these ferries, but it was particularly bad on Thursday. Namely, it was a market day in Bugorora, on Ukerewe island, which drew a huge crowd to the island. The busy ferry made at least 8 trips a day between Ukara and Ukwerewe, so this wasn’t seen to be unusual.
While some survivors were rescued, as the evening bore on into Thursday night the rescue was called off briefly. Friday the rescue effort resumed, but officials cautioned that the likelihood of finding survivors was greatly diminished the second day. As more time has passed it has become more evident that the early death toll estimates were lower than they will end up being.
It is thought that a number of passengers wouldn’t know how to swim. This might come as a bit of surprise to readers in the West, but knowledge of how to swim is less common in other parts of the world.
At least 40 people have been rescued. Adding to the confusion of the incident is the fate of the ticket collector, who is also thought to have died in the incident. The machine responsible for counting tickets also was destroyed. As such, exact numbers of deaths will be hard to tally.