Tanzania orders arrests as ferry death toll climbs | News | DW | 22.09.2018
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Tanzania orders arrests as ferry death toll climbs

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has ordered the arrest of the management of a ferry that capsized on Lake Victoria, killing more than 200 people. One man was pulled alive from an air pocket in the overturned vessel.

A survivor has been found two days after a packed ferry capsized on Tanzania's Lake Victoria, killing more than 200 people.

An engineer was pulled to safety from an air pocket near the engine of the upturned vessel and rushed to hospital, an official said. The man's condition was not immediately clear.

On Saturday, the death toll climbed to 207, according to state-owned broadcaster TBC. That figure was still expected to rise as scores of people remain missing or trapped in the overturned ferry.

Search efforts are ongoing around the ferry's exposed underside as bodies continued to float to the surface around the ship and families of victims prepared to claim the dead. 

It is unknown how many passengers were aboard the MV Nyerere, but some estimates suggested there were more than 300 passengers, far above the ship's capacity of 101 people.

Authorities were able to rescue 37 people after the passenger ferry went down just meters from the dock on Thursday. 

"This is a great disaster for our nation," President John Magufuli said in an address to the nation on TBC. "We have directed that all individuals who were involved in causing this accident to be arrested."

"I have information that some have been arrested, including the captain, who, I am told, was not on board."

'Untrained' person at helm?

Magufuli said the captain had left the steering to someone who wasn't properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

The Tanzanian leader, who declared four days of mourning, urged calm in the East African country, which has a history of deadly maritime disasters. At least 500 people were killed when a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in 1996.

Magufuli said on Friday initial investigations showed that the cause of the accident was overloading, The Citizen reported.

He said even the cargo on board exceeded the weight for which the vessel was certified.

mm,ap /jlw (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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