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60 feared dead as an overloaded boat capsizes /AFP

Africa

Boat capsizes on Lake Victoria, 60 aboard: survivor

60 feared dead as an overloaded boat capsizes /AFP

KAMPALA, March 3 – Around 60 people were aboard a boat that capsized on Lake Victoria in Uganda late Thursday, according to the sole survivor found so far, a regional police spokesman said on Saturday.

“The survivor said there were many people on the boat, about 60, and that it was overloaded,” Lameck Kigozi told AFP by telephone, adding the figure was an estimate and the police had no exact number for passengers and crew.

The survivor told police the boat left Kiyindi at around 7:30 pm (1630 GMT) on Thursday and was heading to the Buvuma islands, but they were hit by a wave which overturned the boat.

“The man says he clung onto a jerry can until the morning of Friday when he was found by another boat which rescued him.”

Waters can be rough on the region’s large lakes and boats are frequently poorly maintained.

Accidents often cause a high number of fatalities because boats are overloaded, carry no life jackets and a large percentage of the population can’t swim. Operators also fail to record the number of passengers on board.

In May 1996, a ferry sank in Lake Victoria on its way to Mwanza in Tanzania, killing around 800.

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