The death toll after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria has risen to at least 151, state-run TV station TBC said on Saturday (Sept 22) as rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned.
“Operations resumed early this morning,” TBC said.
The Reuters news agency cited an official as saying the death toll from Thursday’s disaster had risen to 161. Four navy divers went inside the MV Nyerere early on Saturday after hearing sounds that suggested signs of life.
Their initial search failed to locate survivors, while bodies continued to float to the surface around the vessel.
The toll had stood at 131 late on Friday, with 40 people known to have survived after the MV Nyerere capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island.
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 Agence France-Presse 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.
No much hopes that more survivors might still be found.