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Uganda boat accident kills 30, dozens still missing

Uganda boat accident kills 30, dozens still missing

Uganda

A boat carrying party goers capsized in Lake Victoria on Saturday evening killing dozens. As of Sunday morning, Uganda’s army spokesman Brigadier Richard Karemire put the death toll at 30. The boat is thought to have been carrying over 90 people.

On Sunday morning, relatives and friends of those who were traveling on the boat camped at the shores of Lake Victoria to wait for news on their loved ones. Many sighed and screamed each time a body was pulled from the water.

Police had to halt rescue operations overnight due to lack of night operations capability. Uganda’s military also said it was helping the Police with the rescue operation. Search and rescue operations resumed on Sunday morning with the deployment of divers and a Police chopper.

TV footage showed Police trucks driving away with bodies recovered from the water.

There was no immediate information from authorities on why the vessel, carrying cruise goers to Lake Victoria’s Mutima island, about 60km east of Kampala, sank.

One of those to have survived the tragedy is Prince David Wassajja, brother to the influential Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, king of the influential Buganda kingdom. 26 people were rescued according to Uganda’s Police.

Boat accidents are increasingly common on East Africa’s major lakes including Lake Victoria, which is surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Uganda’s water bodies are notoriously unsafe for travel. In 2014, over 250 Congolese refugees drowned when their boat capsized on Lake Albert in western Uganda, as they returned home from a refugee camp. Uganda’s water transport infrastructure is dilapidated and operators are known to flout safety regulations in a rush to make profits.

Over 200 people were killed in a Tanzanian ferry disaster in September, with officials saying it had been dangerously overloaded.

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