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Gabon calls off search mission for missing ferry passengers

Gabon calls off search mission for missing ferry passengers
March 13, 2023, photos of victims of the Esther Miracle shipwreck hung on wall by parents in Libreville.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


7 passengers were still missing on April 5 when the spokesperson for Gabon's government announced the end of the search mission.

Yves Fernand Manfoumbi, the spokesperson for Gabon's government told the media that the authorities decided to end the search for the shipwreck, in accordance with the technical advice of the research unit.

The privately-owned Esther Miracle was carrying 161 passengers and crew from the capital Libreville to Port-Gentil when it sank in calm waters in the middle of the night on March 9.

During the search operation, 6 corpses were recovered from the water 24 retrieved from the shipwreck.

Thirty-three people have been arrested under a criminal investigation into a ferry accident off Gabon last week that claimed 24 lives mid-March.

Citing the Emergency Operations Command, local media Gabon Media Time reported that authorities would continue to carefully watch the shipwreck area even if underwater search operation has stopped.

The Esther Miracle began service last November, shuttling between Libreville and the oil city of Port-Gentil farther south.

It started taking on water during an overnight trip and sank around 10 kilometres (six miles) off the coast.

Many survivors said they received negligible help or guidance from the crew.

Some spent hours at sea clinging onto inflatable rafts before they were rescued by a flotilla of motorised canoes and a supply barge for the oil industry.

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