Tanzania ferry disaster toll rises to 151

Tanzania

The death toll after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria has risen to 151, state-run TV station TBC said Saturday as rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned. “Operations resumed early this morning,” TBC said.

Late Friday, the toll had stood at 131, with 40 people known to have survived after the MV Nyerere capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday. The vessel may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers — double the ferry’s capacity — according to reports on state media. Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the management of the ferry.

Witnesses reached by AFP said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. In a speech broadcast on TBC 1 public television, Magufuli said “it appears clear that the ferry was overloaded”, adding that “negligence has cost us so many lives… children, mothers, students, old people”. “I ordered the arrest of all those involved in the management of the ferry. The arrests have already begun,” he added.

The president declared four days of national mourning and said the government would cover the funeral expenses of the victims.