Hundreds Still Missing in Tanzania Ferry Sinking, 44 Confirmed Dead

By Reuters
September 21, 2018 Updated: September 21, 2018

DAR ES SALAAM—At least 44 people were confirmed dead and rescuers resumed searching at the crack of dawn on Sept. 21 for hundreds more still missing, a day after a ferry sank in Lake Victoria, Tanzanian police said.

Initial estimates suggested that the MV Nyerere was carrying more than 300 people when it went down on afternoon of Sept. 20, just a few meters from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island, which is part of Tanzania.

Thirty-seven people had been rescued from the sea, while the confirmed death toll rose to 44 from 42, Jonathan Shana, the regional police commander for Mwanza, a port on the southern shore of the lake, told Reuters by phone on Sept. 21.

Shana said more rescuers had joined the operation when it resumed at daylight on Sept. 21. He did not give exact numbers.

The precise number of those aboard the ferry when it capsized was hard to establish since crew and equipment had been lost, officials said on Sept. 20.

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.