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44 dead, scores missing as ferry capsizes in Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Dodoma: At least 44 persons died and scores were feared to be missing after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria, in northern Tanzania, on Thursday. Rescue teams have resumed their search for hundreds of missing passengers on Friday.

The exact number of passengers on board the boat is unknown, but it may have been carrying around 500 passengers when the vessel sank on Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island in the southeast of the vast lake, which also extends into Uganda and Kenya, a local official said.

The ferry was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize and cement, when it overturned close to the dock. The reason behind the mishap is yet to be ascertained, but overloading is assumed to be one of the reasons, the official added.

The deadliest of such accident in recent decades was in May 1996, when around 800 people died after their ferry sank on its way to Mwanza in Tanzania.

Around 20 people were killed in December 2016 when their boat overturned in Lake Victoria as it was carrying passengers to Uganda’s mainland for Christmas holidays.

In March 2012, only two survivors were found after a boat believed to be carrying around 60 people capsized on the lake in Uganda.

Lake Victoria is the source of the White Nile, one of the main two tributaries of the Nile, which stretches north over nearly 6,700 kilometres into Sudan and Egypt.

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