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At least 85 dead after a shipwreck in Madagascar

soldiers on a beach in Soanierana-Ivongo, in the northeast of Madagascar   -  
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At least 85 seasonal workers died in a shipwreck off the northeast coast of Madagascar.

The victims travelled aboard as 12-metre long boat that was not authorised to transport passagers. 

A total of 138 people were aboard the vessel.

Alban Menavolo, mayor of Soanierana-Ivongo :

"We received 39 bodies, 30 of which were recovered by the families and we helped each other so that the families could obtain the remains of their loved ones. But there are still nine bodies that have not been recovered and this morning they were buried in the cemetery", said Alban Menavolo, mayor of Soanierana-Ivongo.

Preliminary findings suggest that the engine had a technical problem which resulted in the boat hitting a reef and capsizing.

According to the authorities, about twenty bodies have not yet been identified.

"I heard that a boat had sunk, and I thought that my husband was in it, that he would be among the drowned. I am very sad now because he is one of the missing passengers. (...) Maybe he is one of the dead who arrived and is buried in Saint Marie. I don't know", said Olivienne, wife of one of the victims.

The seasonal workers had just finished harvesting cloves and were returning to their families for Christmas.

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